Where is Women’s Rugby being Played?


John Birch points out some inaccuracies in this Guest post here.

from Rugby Girl:

The IRB has reported that Women’s Rugby is presently being played in over 80 countries with the leading countries registered players being.

USA 20,700
ENGLAND 17,500
SRI LANKA 15,700
IRELAND 12,300
FRANCE 11,900
INDIA 6,900
CANADA 5,500
ITALY 4,700
SAMOA 4,600
KENYA 3,800
WALES 1,300
RUSSIA 1,200
SPAIN 1,200
JAPAN 1,000


Putting this into perspective, the total number of female rugby players in the world only amounts to around 4% of the total world’s rugby players, with the top 25 countries female rugby players being less than 7% of the England male rugby players.

In New Zealand 68% of female rugby players or 7800 are aged 12 years or under, 25% or 3000 between age 13 and 20, with only 900 or 7% over 20.

Other interesting statistics are Sri Lanks has 6300 or 80%  more girls 12 or under than New Zealand,India has 1800 or 60% more 13 to 20 year old than New Zealand, Australia has 800 or 88% more over 20 year olds. England has less than half the 12 year old or under players but nearly 6 times the over 20 players New Zealand has whilst USA has nearly 3 times the teenage players and 13 times the over 20 players of New Zealand

With Seven’s Rugby becoming an Olympic sport from 2016 on the grounds that rugby was a sport played by both Men and Women, it will be interesting to see how these female playing numbers increase in the next 5 years, plus to see in New Zealand whether there is a significant change in the player age group breakdown.

Semi related, but not really? Not sure where else to put it though!

Map of the WRWC playing countries In red the nations already qualified (NZE, ENG, AUS, FRA, USA, CAN). In green the nations surely playing in the qualifying process (IRE, WAL, ITA, SCO, SAF, UGA, KEN) In yellow the other nations that could play qualifying matches (Spain, Sweden, Finland, Russia, Netherlands, Fiji, Samoa, PNGuinea, Japan, Hong Kong, Kazakhstan, Singapore, China, Philippines, Thailand, Laos...)

12 thoughts on “Where is Women’s Rugby being Played?”

  1. IRB stats are notoriously inaccurate, and often wild exaggerations (or wild guesses) – however, in this case (the number of countries playing women’s rugby) its something like a 25% UNDERcount.

    In 2011 90 countries played 7s internationals – and four more only played 15s. Add to that a further 11 have played internationals but did not, for one reason or another, play in 2011. Then throw in countries like Cuba and Guatemala who have national teams, but have yet to play internationals.

    In short, women’s rugby is played in AT LEAST 110 countries worldwide. Even if you discount the odd country that is not an IRB member, that is a fair few more than 80… Its also more than ANY other women’s team sport, except soccer (and its not that far behind soccer).

  2. the title is misleading, there are a lot more countries in which women play rugby. not all of them are able to qualify for the next WRWC though.

  3. the title is misleading, there are a lot more countries in which women play rugby. not all of them are able to qualify for the next WRWC though.

  4. I don’t believe the South Africa stats for a second.  I’ve lived in SA, the UK and the USA and there is only minor presence of women’s teams in SA.  In the UK there was in every town virtually, and that has almost the same number of players.  Even adjusting for land-mass size, there is something weird there.


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