New Zealand Rugby (NZR) has today launched the “Love Every Minute” campaign to support significant predicted growth in women and girls’ participation this season.
Projections by NZR indicate the potential for a 40% increase in women’s rugby participation on 2022, which would see over 35,000 women and girls playing club and school rugby this season.
NZR Chair Dame Patsy Reddy said women’s rugby remained a priority and it was crucial to create ways for rugby to be accessible to women and girls.
“This is an exciting and important time for women’s rugby in Aotearoa, and together with the Provincial Unions we want to make the most of the opportunity in front of us”, said Reddy.
“It’s vital that rugby is visible to women and girls and for them to see the many ways they can be involved in the game. We know that the success of the Black Ferns continues to be felt and it’s wonderful to hear about new teams and clubs starting all over the country.”
Inspired by the Black Ferns historic sixth Rugby World Cup title and unprecedented popularity, the Love Every Minute campaign will create awareness of playing, refereeing, coaching and managing opportunities in women’s rugby.
NZR General Manager Community Rugby Steve Lancaster said a huge amount of work was going into increasing women and girls’ participation, with early registrations already more than double what they were at this point last season.
“Rugby has an incredible opportunity to build on the interest and engagement in women’s sport and we’re anticipating growth at all levels of the game, from Small Blacks through to school and senior club rugby.
“We know Provincial Unions and volunteers in clubs and schools are working hard to make sure there are ways to get involved, on and off the field. The Love Every Minute campaign is about supporting them in the lead up to what could be a very busy registration period.”
In partnership with Sport New Zealand and NZR, Provincial Unions will continue to deliver girls’ rugby activator programmes focused on providing fun and informal rugby opportunities to sample the game. The activator programmes are expected to increase by 75% this season, from 85,000 engagements in 2022 to 150,000 in 2023.
Manawatū Rugby CEO Andrea Jackson said the union had brought on new staff to support the increased interest.
"Having a full-time staff member focused on delivering to women and girls has helped break down the barriers that prevented our wāhine getting involved in rugby, whether that was playing, coaching, administration or hanging out with friends supporting mates playing. We're working hard with clubs and schools to provide safe, welcoming environments so more women and girls develop a life-long love of rugby."
NZR is also set to launch the New Zealand Women & Girls in Rugby System Strategy, as well as a separate NZR action plan in the coming months.
The strategy has been developed over the past 12 months in consultation with the rugby community and will guide the future growth of the women’s game.
For more information on women’s rugby visit www.nzrugby.co.nz/loveeveryminute