Rugby World Cup and the Olympics

Rugby World Cup

Since its inception in 1987, Rugby World Cup has grown into one of the largest and most popular sporting events in the world, delivering financial revenues that have enabled World Rugby to invest in the development of Rugby worldwide.

RWC 2011 in New Zealand was attended by 1.35 million people at 87 per cent capacity and reached a cumulative television audience of more than 3.9 billion.

The eighth Rugby World Cup in England in 2015 was the biggest to date with an attendance of over 2,474,500 across the 6-week tournament, the final watched by an estimate of 120 million across the globe, 6,000 volunteers and numerous programmes and projects to maximise the impact of the event.

The 2019 edition will take it to a whole new territory as Japan prepares to be the first country in Asia to host Rugby’s showpiece tournament.

Women's Rugby World Cup

The pinnacle of the Women's Game, the 2014 edition was the seventh Women's Rugby World Cup with the first having been held in the Welsh capital of Cardiff back in April 1991. The success of the inaugural tournament laid the foundations for the future and proved the viability of an international competition, from which the Women's Rugby World Cup has continued to grow to the present day.

Women’s Rugby World Cup 2014 in France saw record breaking crowds along with a record amount of TV viewers tune in to watch the competition in Paris. 12 teams participated, and England claimed the trophy in Stade Jean Bouin, Paris, beating Canada in a thrilling final. This edition left an indelible mark on anyone who saw a game, whether on TV or at one of the two venues.

The Olympic Games

Rugby will rejoin the Olympic Programme at Rio 2016 when Rugby Sevens makes its eagerly awaited debut. Rugby is a perfect fit for the Olympic Games. It reinforces the Olympic movement’s ideals thanks to its longstanding ethos of fair play and friendship while the vibrant and exciting format of Rugby Sevens appeals to both existing followers of the sport and a wider sports-loving audience worldwide.

Since the International Olympic Committee’s 2009 decision to include Rugby Sevens in the programme for 2016 and 2020, support for Rugby has already increased with World Rugby Member Unions working closely with their National Olympic Committees to develop and grow the Game.

The 2014 Youth Olympic Games in Nanjing will give new audiences a taste of Olympic Rugby Sevens and Get Into Rugby has been key in building excitement in the region. And ninety-years on since the last Olympic Rugby ball was kicked when the USA won the Olympic gold medal, fans everywhere are looking forward to a festival of Olympic Rugby Sevens in 2016. To keep up-to-date with Olympic news, visit


Watch the World Rugby "Rugby Sevens - Reaching Out" video

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