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NSW Rugby Union announces record participation figures across the state for 2016
NSW Waratahs Media Unit
NSW Rugby Union are pleased to announce record increases of junior, senior and regional participation levels across the state for 2016.
The Australian Sports Commission data released today shows rugby is now one of the most popular sports in the country, with 50,000 students reached through the Australian Rugby Union’s “Game On” program.
Of those numbers, close to 50 per cent were run and managed by NSW Rugby Union Development Officers, with more than 21,000 students reached and more than 2,700 programs delivered.
The increase across the code has seen rugby rise to eighth place among the most popular primary school programs, up from 20 in 2015.
NSW Rugby Union CEO, Andrew Hore said the impressive figures were double what the organisation had hoped to achieve.
“Our initial goal for Game On was to reach 10,000 students in 2016, but we managed to more than double that,” Hore said.
“By having dedicated and experienced Development Officers in the field across NSW regions we were able to deliver 2,700 Game On sessions across the state.
“Game On is a program designed for boys and girls and works hand in hand with local Clubs to provide a clear pathway for children into other rugby programs such as VIVA7s, Sevens or XVs.
“Going forward, we now need to work on retaining these young people in the sport by supporting the many volunteers that coach and support the clubs.”
It was a positive year for rugby across New South Wales, with strong results in country and regional NSW also experiencing increase.
Participation figures also rose in 2016 within the country and regional rugby zones of NSW, with a 6 per cent increase across junior and senior levels. Central West saw the biggest increase in participation, up 16 per cent, while the New England, Central Coast and Newcastle zones also saw increases of 11, six and six per cent respectively.
“We have placed a renewed focus on rugby in the country as part of our reinvigoration of the rugby pathways across the state,” Hore said.
“At the moment over 80 per cent of our current NSW Waratahs squad has been born and or bred in NSW, with 25 per cent from NSW country. We continue to pride ourselves on strong development programs, not just within our Clubs, but in our schools too.”