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New era as IRB transforms into World Rugby

New era as IRB transforms into World Rugby
November 20, 2014

Rugby union’s international governing body has embarked on a new era with the completion of its rebranding from the International Rugby Board (IRB) to World Rugby.

At the conclusion this week's 2014 World Rugby Conference in London, the IRB revealed that, in an effort to engage audiences worldwide, it would now promote itself under its new brand.

In an increasingly competitive global sporting environment, it appears positioning rugby as a global game is at the heart of the governing body’s decision.

World Rugby Chief Executive Brett Gosper stated “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.”

Gosper says the health of the game has never been better, and that all the participation targets are being reached worldwide.

Rugby has been growing internationally at an impressive rate in recent years, with participation booming from two million to 6.6 million in the last four years.

This has largely been off the back of an increasing global presence through the commercial success of the Rugby World Cup, its re-inclusion in the Olympic Games and well-funded international development strategies.

Gosper added “I think (the new branding) equips us better to accomplish (ongoing growth).

“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.”

The rebranding also included a new logo which, according to the World Rugby website, “embodies World Rugby’s mission statement to grow the game globally, retaining a link to the organisation’s heritage through its blue and green colour scheme.”

World Rugby’s new identity has already been rolled out on the media platforms, including its website and social media, and the logo will make its match-play debut on referee uniforms this weekend.

The rise of women's rugby in Asia was a topic in the September/October 2014 issue of Australasian Leisure Management.



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