Q&A with World Rugby Chief Executive Brett Gosper on the governing body’s name change.

Brett, what has been the feedback to the change from IRB to World Rugby?

It has been very positive generally. Obviously we had to take this through the Council in particular and justify and argue our case as to why a rebrand would be good for rugby. I think people were very much on board with the strategy of a rebrand that clearly renames the IRB into something that has impact and something people would immediately understand what we are setting out to do in terms of a mission. 

World Rugby describes that very easily and also because we are, if you like, on a conquest mission; we are not just trying to please people who already like rugby, which is important, we also want to gather in new audiences around the world from outside, let’s say, the ‘church of rugby’. World Rugby helps us do that. The reaction has been positive. Not many people have seen the logo visually, of course the Council has and a few people we’ve interacted with, and generally it has been received very positively.

What do you hope will be the reaction when the brand is fully unveiled at ConfEx?

I hope people understand what we are trying to achieve and people like the aesthetics of the logo and so on. But, to be fair, it is not meant to be a huge, all-singing and dancing launch, this logo and the name I think will be best understood when it is actually in action and when people start to see the roll-out of other consumer-facing assets that we have; when they see it eventually come into Rugby World Cup territory, eventually into the Sevens territory, and new inspirational streams like the World Rugby Hall of Fame, the World Rugby Conference and so on. I think when it is in action people will understand the rebranding far more.

Why is it important to launch the new brand at this time?

Given the overall objectives we have and the overall remit of World Rugby, as we are calling it now, is to grow the game globally, I think this equips us better to accomplish that task. It also happens at a time when there is quite dramatic growth in participation in rugby: we have hit our 10-year targets in half the time. This is a global game but it is a game that is still globalising. So I think it is both a recognition of how far we have come but it is certainly something that will help us move to the next level in terms of our global ambitions.