Around the Regions in May

(IRB.COM) Friday 3 May 2013
 Around the Regions in May
Get Into Rugby is the IRB's development programme which aims to grow the Game of Rugby across the world

We bring you a global snapshot of what’s going on in the world of Rugby


The IRB Vision is: Rugby - a sport for all, true to its values. The exciting Get Into Rugby initiative is the IRB's development programme which aims to grow the Game of Rugby across the world in partnership with our Regional Associations and introduce people to the sport and its values of integrity, respect, solidarity, passion and discipline which inspire millions of people to play our Game.

In its initial phase projects are being run in Brazil, Belgium, China, Colombia, Czech Republic, Germany, Mexico, Poland, Romania, Trinidad and Tobago, Tunisia and Zimbabwe and now are being expanded to many other Member Unions.

From Africa’s perspective, this is a particularly exciting programme with enormous potential in this vast continent. Still in the early stages of organisation, there will be a Get Into Rugby workshop this month in Stellenbosch with representatives present from South Africa, Kenya, Uganda, Madagascar, Senegal, Namibia and Swaziland. These trailblazers will then return to their home Unions and put the theory into action on the ground, introducing this wonderful sport to thousands, perhaps millions, of new participants.

This free-to-access mass participation programme is designed to assist IRB Member Unions in growing the player base in their country. The Get Into Rugby website provides member Unions and their coaches and teachers with the resources and information to progressively introduce children to the Game of Rugby and encourage them to try, play and stay in Rugby.


For information about African Rugby go to

South America

Last month, senior IRB officials visited Brazil and Colombia to run a ‘Leading Rugby’ programme. The highly productive meeting involved representatives of nine Member Unions and they discussed opportunities to grow the Game in the coming years.

The workshop was led by IRB General Manager for Development, Morgan Buckley, who said: "There is very strong progress being made by unions in South America to grow Rugby with more than 200,000 people playing the game.”

“We are experiencing particularly impressive growth in Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Colombia and Uruguay, in part down to the impact of Argentina playing in the Rugby Championship and the growing excitement of Rugby’s reintroduction to the summer Olympic Games programme at Rio de Janeiro in 2016. We are working closely with these Unions to strengthen the game on and off the pitch. By the end of 2013, we will have started Get Into Rugby in most Unions in South America to drive growth in the game as well as sharing the experience of the Get Into Rugby programme that is already up and running.”

“Get Into Rugby is the best mass-participation programme to fast-track people into the Game,” said Mauricio Henao, Technical Director of the Colombia Rugby Federation, where the initiative has already kicked off to immediate positive effect.

At the same time, Brazil is looking to take advantage of the Olympic bump and has set up a development structure to work with contact and non-contact programmes to bring new participants into the Game.

For more information on South American Rugby go to


May sees the culmination of the HSBC Asian 5 Nations Top 5. Japan’s 121-0 victory over Top 5 newcomers the Philippines in round one on 20 April and its 38-0 victory over Hong Kong in round two again showed Japan’s professional environment superiority over ARFU’s other unions and Japan already has one hand planted firmly on retaining the trophy.

Korea’s 75-10 victory over the UAE on 26 April, featuring six Korean professionals from Japan’s Top League in the starting 15, also proved Korea’s resurgence. The final two round five matches on May 18 see Korea host a Hong Kong side without its HSBC Sevens World Series Qualifier players to battle for second and third place, while the Philippines host the UAE in Manila in what looks likely to be this year’s relegation match with the loser dropping out of the RWC 2015 qualifying process.

Meanwhile, A5N Division IV will be hosted once again by the UAE Rugby Federation at 7he Sevens rugby facility in Dubai. On 8 May Pakistan, relegated from Division III in 2012, will take on top side from Division IV in Laos, while Lebanon will play Uzbekistan. The losers and winners will then play their respective finals prior to the Top 5 match between the UAE and Japan on 10 May.

The IRB and the UAE Rugby Federation are hosting a two-day training course for the IRB’s Get Into Rugby programme around the Division IV matches, attended by delegates from some ARFU unions. The last day of the month will see Rugby fans from around Asia arriving in Hong Kong to enjoy the atmosphere ahead of the historic clash between the British and Irish Lions and the Barbarians on Saturday, 1 June at the Hong Kong Football Stadium, being the Lions’ warm-up match on their way to Australia.

Find out more about Rugby in Asia at


May is a big month for Rugby Sevens in Europe with the HSBC Sevens World Series coming to a thrilling conclusion with the double whammy of Glasgow this weekend followed by London the week after. And for the women, the inaugural IRB Women's Sevens World Series concludes in Amsterdam on 17-18 May.

This year there is the added significance of being the last two elite opportunities for teams to prepare for Rugby World Cup Sevens from June 28-30 in Russia. Preparations for that tournament are progressing well as 24 men’s and 16 women’s teams get ready to descend on the iconic Luzhniki Stadium in Moscow for what will certainly be the highlight of the Sevens season.

For all the latest information about RWC Sevens go to

For more information on Rugby in Europe go to


Following on from an exciting April for Fiji as they celebrated 100 years of Rugby in that country, the Federation of Oceania Rugby Unions (FORU) will be hosting the ‘Growing the Game’ conference in Nadi, Fiji, from 13-17 May.

Funded by the IRB, the conference will bring delegates from seven Member Unions for a week to develop regional and country-specific strategies to increase participation rates especially with regards to women and girls. Industry experts from Australia, New Zealand and Ireland will assist members in identifying and developing appropriate participation and competition pathways; mass participation curricula; and resource structures to assist Unions in developing a more effective approach to growing the game throughout the region.

Meanwhile, the newly expanded IRB Pacific Nations Cup will commence on 25 May with matches in Japan (Japan v Tonga) and USA (USA v Canada). The expanded PNC will see USA and Canada join Fiji, Japan and Tonga in the popular IRB tournament throughout May and June. Matches will be held in USA, Canada and Fiji and will culminate with the final two rounds in Japan to determine the 2013 champions. Defending champions Samoa will be participating in a four-nation tournament in South Africa along with the Springboks, Scotland and Italy.

For more information on Rugby in Oceania go to

North America/Caribbean

Rugby is full of inspiring stories, none more so than that of Meghan Mutrie, a top Canadian Rugby player who recovered from serious injuries to form a successful career in television journalism while also finding time to help out the Right To Play organisation.


For more information about Rugby in NACRA go to