World Rugby has welcomed the Federacion de Rugby de Costa Rica as a full member union, bringing the total number to 105 full members and 16 associates across six regions.
With Rugby continuing to experience accelerated global growth as participation nears 9 million, South America has been at the forefront of the drive to attract a new generation of participants.
Costa Rica is a reflection of that trend, having become an associate member of World Rugby in 2014, and was approved by the World Rugby Council as a full member having met all the required membership criteria
Costa Rica is a full member of Sudamerica Rugby, the regional association of South America. The union actively partakes in regional activities and participates in a range of Sudamerica Rugby tournaments. It is recognised by its National Olympic Committee and fulfils World Rugby's full membership criteria.
The union runs a national 15-a-side team and, in total, has 10 teams participating in a domestic 15-a-side league with more than 900 registered players.
The application was supported by the World Rugby Executive Committee, Sudamerica Rugby and World Rugby's Rugby Services Manager (South America).
World Rugby Chairman Bill Beaumont said: "We are delighted to be welcoming Costa Rica as a full member of World Rugby. These are very exciting times for our sport with unprecedented growth and interest around the world and South America is at the forefront of the success story.
“Costa Rica is a reflection of that success and we look forward to a strong, well-organised game in the nation, and we are delighted that the union has achieved the necessary full membership criteria and will play a prominent role in the ongoing growth of the sport.”
World Rugby Vice Chairman Agustín Pichot added: "Our mission is to make rugby as accessible as possible for everyone within South America and this announcement reflects the excellent development work that is taking place across the region. Costa Rica is a proactive and energetic member within South America and we look forward to seeing them grow on the world stage as a full member of World Rugby."
Sudamerica Rugby President Marcelo Rodriguez added: “We are delighted that Costa Rica has been accepted as a full member of World Rugby. It is a reflection of the continued growth of the sport across South America and will act as an inspiration for other unions in our region.
“South America has seen a significant growth in the number of youth participants through the Get Into Rugby programme and we are working in partnership with our unions and World Rugby to ensure a strong, inclusive and exciting game in South America. I would like to congratulate Costa Rica on this fantastic achievement.”