Counties Manukau Rugby is hailing hard work at grassroots level as the catalyst for growth in the community game this year.
New Zealand Rugby this week released data that shows the national game has undergone a much-needed period of growth this year and seen an increase in player numbers in many categories.
Counties Manukau Rugby has seen a 25% increase in total participation from last year to 2023. Female rugby has seen a 58% growth in player numbers in the region during that time while the male increase sits at 17%.
Perhaps the most encouraging sign locally is the growth in the 0-12 age bracket, which has seen a 27% increase year on year. The 13-18 range is up as well (26%) while there are 17% more players in the 19-plus age range.
Counties Manukau Rugby’s Head of Community Rugby Matt Megaw said those wins can be attributed to the efforts his team and those involved in clubs and schools have made this year.
“We are excited to see the bounce back of community rugby and know that we are contributing to the growth within our region,” Megaw said.
“It is great to see participation increase across both male and female participants and the various age bands.
“This year we have supported multiple new teams and competitions throughout junior, senior, and school rugby.
“A massive thank you to our community team for their efforts this year and to our schools and clubs for all their hard work. We are excited about adding new grades again next year and building on the great success we have had within our junior and school competitions.”
Counties Manukau Rugby is hoping to introduce a full U19 club competition in 2024 while many clubs are well underway with plans to grow team numbers next season.
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