Author: Jacob Cawthorne Featured sport: Rugby This feature summarises how rugby contributes to the achievement of development goals.
Why is rugby well-suited to developing people and communities?
In 2009, World Rugby identified five key characteristics of the sport:
Integrity - Integrity is central to the fabric of the game and is generated through honesty and fair play.
Passion - Rugby people have a passionate enthusiasm for the game. Rugby generates excitement, emotional attachment and a sense of belonging to the global rugby family.
Solidarity - Rugby provides a unifying spirit that leads to life-long friendships, camaraderie, teamwork and a loyalty which transcends cultural, geographic, political and religious differences.
Discipline - Discipline is an integral part of the game both on and off the field and is reflected through adherence to the laws, the regulations and rugby’s core values.
Respect - Respect for teammates, opponents, match officials and those involved in the game is paramount.
These character-building traits became known as the World Rugby core values and have become incorporated into the World Rugby Playing Charter. When they are promoted by sport and development organisations, they can benefit social development of participants, particularly young people.
Rugby is played by more than eight million men and women, boys and girls in over 150 countries worldwide. The Final of Rugby World Cup 2015 was watched by approximately 120 million viewers and broke all previous social media records for the tournament. However, rugby is not a mainstream sport in many countries and between the 20 teams that competed in the 2015 edition of the tournament, there is a big difference in the sport’s popularity, development and history.
However, this has some advantages in development. It can have the ability to reach new audiences by introducing a new and exciting sport that may not have the preconceptions attached to it that more popular sports do. In a context where football is seen as a “man’s game”, for example, it may be effective in reaching women.