Sport England’s Active People Survey (APS) records that participation increased in each of the last four quarters from 170,300 to 196,300 and that the Rugby Football Union is on track to meet growth targets.
Over the past year there were important gains in the 20-24 (+1.4% to 53,300) and 25-29 age groups (+0.98% to 36,000) as well as in the 16+ education sector (+1.78% to 99,500). The APS report notes that “the 15-a-side game has driven the recent increases”.
The encouraging growth follows a decline in rugby union participation in the two years to April 2011.
But the survey, which measures the number of people over 16 participating in rugby union at least once a week, highlighted the need for attention to be focused on declining participation 18-19 age group.
RFU Rugby Development Director Steve Grainger said: “The figures from the survey are encouraging and show that the focused effort we’ve put on supporting our clubs and growing the game around them over the last 12 months is paying dividends.