Rugby World Cup legacy continues to inspire

September 18 marks 1 year on from the Rugby World Cup

Legacy continue to attract more participants to the sport

One year on from Rugby World Cup 2015, the most successful World Cup ever, a lasting legacy continues to grow participation and improve the rugby environment at a grassroots level.

“We planned meticulously prior to Rugby World Cup launching our Lead Up and Legacy Strategy in October 2012,” says Steve Grainger, RFU Rugby Development Director. 

“The RFU invested £25 million, as well as time and resources to ensure the tournament positively impacted the game at a grassroots level. Our preparation paid off as we have seen rugby grow considerably across the country with a rise in participation, improved facilities and greater support across all areas of the game.” 


One of the main successes of the legacy has been a rise in participation across all age ages and abilities.

CBRE All Schools, now including 500 hundred state secondary schools, has exposed rugby to 340,000 young people who had previously not had the opportunity to play. The programme will continue to expand with 250 more CBRE All Schools in place by Rugby World Cup 2019.

Focusing on attracting a range of ages and abilities to the game, the RFU’s legacy also targets women and girls, Touch and returning players.

The RFU’s target is to get 25,000 women and girls playing contact rugby by 2017 and is on track to achieve this. The RFU’s nationwide ‘Pitch up and Play’ rugby taster sessions have helped attract those new to rugby, with specifically tailored session to introduce them to the basics of the game.


The Rugby World Cup 2015 legacy has funded the training of 6,352 newly qualified coaches of 15-a-side rugby 5,000 newly qualified 15-a-side referees and 4,388 newly qualified children’s rugby referees, ensuring the growth of participation can be managed across all levels of the game.

The RFU’s Unity Project, in partnership with World Rugby, Rugby Europe and UK Sport, has also seen over 500 coaches and 200 referees trained in its efforts to develop grassroots rugby across 17 European nations.


More than £10m has been invested in club facilities with a total project value of £47m in over 550 clubs across the country. The investment has enabled clubs to improve their playing surfaces, artificial pitches, floodlights, changing facilities and social spaces.

Work has also begun on the RFU’s first Artificial Grass Pitches (AGPs) in Weston Super Mare, Preston and Aylesbury, with additional pitches, including one in the North East, set to be fully operational by the end of the season.

The three pitches are part of the RFU’s plan to deliver over £50 million investment over four years into the development of 100 AGPs across England.


Prior to the tournament, the RFU identified seven priority areas for financial support; better facilities, investment in people, schools, returning players, touch rugby, working with other nations to grow the game and cultural engagement.

Ian Ritchie, RFU Chief Executive Officer, says the legacy continues to grow the sport across the country. “One year on from Rugby World Cup, we have seen the success of the tournament continuing to benefit players, clubs, schools and universities across the country.

“We have seen more rugby playing schools, coaches, referees, volunteers, and improved facilities in grassroots rugby clubs. We have already achieved some of our targets but we have even greater ambitions which we hope to accomplish over the coming years in order to ensure the game continues to prosper.”

Read more details in ‘A Lasting Legacy‘ and the seven pillars on which the Rugby World Cup legacy was built

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