The Rio 2016 Olympic Games are not yet underway and yet they are already delivering a lasting sustainable legacy of rugby development and growth thanks to the success of the IMPACT Beyond Rio 2016 programme.
A collaboration between World Rugby, the Confederação Brasileira de Rugby (CBRu), the Brazil National Olympic Committee, the City of Rio and Rio 2016, the programme has already reached and engaged more than 175,000 players, coaches and young match officials in Rio since its launch in March 2015, providing a solid foundation for sustainable legacy from the Games.
• More than 175,000 engaged players, coaches, teachers and young match officials
• 115,000 students regularly playing rugby across more than 450 schools
• 1,450 coaches and trainers trained and accredited
• 60 young match officials trained
• High-performance rugby centre planned for Brazil after the Games
World Rugby Chairman Bill Beaumont said: "Before a ball has even been kicked at Rio 2016, the effect of the Olympic Games on Brazilian rugby has already been positive. For the past 18 months or so, we have been working hard to ensure that this once-off opportunity to grow the game in Brazil is not lost.
"It is great to see so many young Brazilian people have been introduced to rugby in the build-up to the Olympics and hopefully through the work of the CBRu they will stay in the game for many years to come and build a lasting legacy.”
Apart from in Brazil itself, IMPACT Beyond Rio 2016 includes 205 events in 85 other countries around the world with more than 70,000 expected participants. It builds on successful programmes run at other World Rugby events, including Rugby World Cup 2015, that have played a leading role in attracting and retaining more than one million new players to the game in the past two years. Also, World Rugby will shortly be launching details of IMPACT Beyond Japan 2019, a pan-Asia programme to run alongside Rugby World Cup 2019.
Rugby sevens' debut at Rio 2016 is set to deliver unforgettable moments as the selected players become the sport's first Olympians in 92 years, while Olympic history will be made if Fiji make it to the podium as the Pacific Island nation have never won an Olympic medal of any colour. The prospect is a realistic one as Fiji's men enter the Games as HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series champions.
For Brazil, with their men's and women's teams competing, the chance to showcase rugby to an unprecedented national audience will cap a hugely-successful IMPACT Beyond Rio 2016 programme.