LONDON, 28 Sept - Thousands of youngsters are being given the chance to try rugby for the first time during Rugby World Cup 2015 as World Rugby's Get into Rugby programme stages events in all corners of the world.
The game's biggest showpiece is reaching more people than ever before and on the back of that global exposure, at least 100,000 young people are expected to participate in specially organised Get Into Rugby events across 60 emerging rugby countries during the tournament, including the group pictured above from Patagonia.
"The power of the Rugby World Cup lies in taking the sport to countries and people who otherwise may not normally access and watch the game, and 2015 is the first time that World Rugby's Get Into Rugby programme has been able to work alongside the tournament," World Rugby chief executive Brett Gosper said.
In all, since January 2015, more than 620,000 children have taken part in over 1,300 events organised to promote rugby at the grassroots level in 126 countries. In that time 17 new unions have registered for Get Into Rugby and more than 11,500 teachers, coaches and referees have been involved.
Teams competing in England will be supported by children in countries as far and wide as Senegal, Germany, Pakistan, Colombia and Samoa and Chile (see picture), while in Uruguay the recent film Teros, sueño mundial (Teros, World Cup dream) is being aired in 60 open-air public cinemas across the country as fans flock to support the national team.
"Get Into Rugby events were held alongside the warm-up camps of two of our Rugby World Cup teams, Romania and Uruguay, with young people in both countries given the chance to engage with the teams, and the sport, for the first time,” Gosper added.
“That in itself is powerful, but multiply it by a factor of 20, or 50, and you start to see the number of people who might be inspired to get involved in rugby over the next five or six weeks."