New figures from the International Rugby Board show that over one million people around the world have now accessed the official site to view the Laws of the Game of Rugby, underscoring the growth of a sport that continues to reach out to men, women and children around the world in unprecedented numbers.
www.irblaws.com outlines, in detail, the Laws of the Game, but also provides user-friendly video examples and animations of how they are applied on the field of play. Users are then able to test their knowledge of key issues with self-test exam on the site.
By the end of December 2012, the site had seen 1,605,522 visits from 1,036,496 unique users. In yet another example of how technology is embraced by the global Rugby community, the statistics also showed that more than 150,000 users had accessed the IRB sites via iPhone and iPad devices.
IRB Chairman Bernard Lapasset said: "As Rugby continues its phenomenal growth around the world with over 5.5 million people regularly participating, the IRB is committed to ensuring that Rugby players, coaches, match officials and fans have access to the best-possible education tools to enhance their enjoyment of the sport."
"It is really encouraging to see so many people from so many countries log onto this site to bring themselves up to date with the official Laws and regulations."
"It's an incredible resource for those involved in the Game, and even for those with a passing interest. The site is very accessible and explains the rules and regulations in a manner that is easy to access, using video examples."
There was also encouraging news for another IRB online resource, www.irbrugbyready.com. Statistics show that by the end of 2012, the site had seen over 891,000 visits by almost 530,000 users.
Figures show that the site, which is available in six languages, is being accessed by stakeholders in both existing and emerging Rugby nations. After the United Kingdom, website users in Argentina and Brazil were among the highest number of visitors to the site, along with those in the United States, Colombia and Japan.
This reflects the massive growth of Rugby in emerging nations which has been stimulated by unprecedented IRB investment in development, training, education and tournaments made possible by the financial success of Rugby World Cup as well as the inclusion of Rugby Sevens in the 2016 Olympic Games.
The IRB Rugby Ready programme was launched in October 2007 to educate, aid and support players, coaches, match officials and Unions on the importance of best-possible preparation for training and playing, in order for Rugby to be played and enjoyed while reducing the risk of serious injury in the Game.
Since then, Rugby Ready has established a strong profile as a leading global education resource for the Game’s stakeholders in the areas of match preparation, technique, injury prevention, management and discipline. The site, which requires users to register before taking an online test had almost 121,000 registrations from 220 countries by year's end, with up to 30,000 people completing the exam.
IRB Training and Medical Manager Mark Harrington said: "We've worked really hard on developing Rugby Ready as the IRB’s flagship mass participation resource, so we're delighted to see the growth in figures."
"It's a resource that we're constantly working on and the Rugby Ready content will be revisited again this year, with experts from coaching, refereeing, strength & conditioning as well as sports medicine. We're committed to maintaining the currency and integrity of this resource, which, as you can see, is being accessed by a growing number of people."
IRB Rugby Ready is widely available to the global Rugby family so that players, coaches, match officials and administrators all over the world can enjoy Rugby to the fullest. Rugby Ready supplements programmes successfully delivered by some IRB Member Unions such as SmartRugby, RugbySmart and BokSmart established in Australia, New Zealand and South Africa respectively.
The IRB believes that everybody involved in organising and playing Rugby has a duty of care in relation to the players. The IRB Rugby Ready programme is intended to raise awareness of good practice and help stakeholders manage the inherent risks of a contact sport by putting appropriate safeguards in place.
The self-assessment programme comprises 18 good-practice modules covering match preparation and physical conditioning, correct technique as well as injury prevention and management.
Rugby Ready is linked through IRB Passport - the gateway that allows access to the portals as well as the IRB Passport forum community. This discussion board is home to thousands of users in hundreds of countries across the globe, allowing them to share thoughts or opinions on any aspect of Rugby, ask for help, or even offer expertise to other users.