Survey confirms international rugby grips the nation
5 May 2014 23:59pm
Forty-one per cent of the adult population of Wales have attended a rugby international at the Millennium Stadium.
A survey commissioned by the Welsh Rugby Union (WRU) has concluded that more than half the population of Wales is involved with the game either as a player, supporter or follower of broadcast and newspaper coverage.
This survey has given us unique insight into the attitude towards rugby in Wales
It also states that 41% of the adult population of Wales have attended a rugby international at the Millennium Stadium to cheer on their team.
The survey conducted online by eightyone600, a sports marketing consultancy, sampling 1,152 adults, was commissioned as a benchmark study to help the WRU understand the unique position rugby occupies in Wales today.
It revealed that the Rugby World Cup holders, New Zealand, are the most popular opposition the fans want to watch play Wales, although Australia and England are both almost on a par, with Ireland also not far behind.
The list of Wales' opponents in order of preference for fans was: the All Blacks, England, the Wallabies, Ireland, South Africa, France, Scotland, Argentina, Italy, Fiji, Samoa, Tonga and Japan.
The survey also found that the most significant reason cited by fans for attending the Millennium Stadium was the atmosphere created in the ground, with national pride in the Wales team also scoring highly as the next factor.
While 41% of Welsh Adults have attended a game 30%, equivalent to some 732,000 adults, told researchers they would attend a match in future.
Half the adult population, according to the survey, are revealed to have some involvement in rugby either as a player, supporter or follower on TV or in the newspapers.
Price is the major factor of influence when it comes to supporters deciding to attend matches, with 50% saying the cost of attending is their biggest consideration when preparing to buy.
The survey found that across Wales 51% of the population, or 1.24m people, regularly follow rugby coverage, 20% or 488,000 people, occasionally attend Wales rugby internationals or other big sports events and, 6% or 146,000 people, either play rugby in Wales or are rugby club members.
The full detail in the survey document will now be used to steer the WRU strategy to enhance the relationship member clubs and fans in general have with the game in Wales.
The survey adds to a body of research within the WRU including a club census which put a range of community club issues under the microscope.
It found that 60% of clubs had been involved in a WRU initiatives and 88% embraced new technology with their own websites.
Some 60% of club had no long term debt and two thirds of clubs broke even or had a financial surplus at the end of each year.
Separate figures also show there are more junior players up to the U14 age group in Wales than ever before.
There are 53 Welsh rugby clubs with more than 200 junior players and 67% of clubs in Wales have junior sections with more than three teams.
WRU Group Chief Executive, Roger Lewis, said: "This survey has given us unique insight into the attitude towards rugby in Wales.
"It has provided us with some invaluable learnings and it is hugely encouraging to discover that international rugby continues to grip the Welsh nation.
"We all understand the challenges for keeping supporters engaged, especially in these stringent economic times, but the interest in Welsh international rugby is still phenomenally high.
"It is certainly interesting to note how important the Millennium Stadium atmosphere is to fans and we will continue to focus a lot of attention on making a trip to watch Wales a memorable event for all the family.
"Everyone knows that here in Wales we have some of the most passionate and knowledgeable participants and followers of the game and we will continue to work hard to support them."
The WRU encourages all fans to get involved in their local rugby club whether to play, coach, volunteer or buy a ticket to watch Wales. A reward scheme and priority access via your local rugby club ensures the transaction is in the best interests of both parties.
Wales home fixtures for 2014/2015 Dove Men Series 2014
Saturday, 8th November: Wales v Australia, Millennium Stadium, 14h30 pm
Saturday, 15th November: Wales v Fiji, Millennium Stadium, 14h30
Saturday, 22nd November: Wales v New Zealand, Millennium Stadium, 17h30
Saturday, 29th November: Wales v South Africa, 14h30 RBS 6 Nations 2015
Friday, 6th February: Wales v England, Millennium Stadium, 20h05
Saturday 14th March 15: Wales v Ireland, Millennium Stadium,14h30
The Welsh Rugby Union is forming a new Youth Board with a brief to help keep more young people involved in the game during their late teenage years and beyond. The first task of the fifteen strong Board will be to analyse and consider the issues which lead to a number of youngsters drifting away from the sport between the ages of 16 and 21. To apply visit www.wru.wales/youthboard
The Foster's Challenge Cup will involve the 12 Principality Premiership sides and will run during European and British & Irish Cup weeks, providing vital fixtures for the participating clubs and an opportunity for upcoming players to step up to semi-professional rugby and make a claim for starting places within the Premiership squads.
Eighty schools and colleges in Wales now have a full time rugby officer as part of the WRU's school club hub scheme. All of the school club hub officers recently gathered at the National Centre of Excellence for various workshops.
With Liam Williams forced out of the World Cup through injury, lock Luke Charteris and Skills Coach Neil Jenkins say they have to put yesterday's defeat behind them as Wales now look ahead to another physical encounter against South Africa in the quarter-finals of the Rugby World Cup.
WRU Consultant Head of Physical Performance Paul Stridgeon praises the Physical Performance department for their work and dedication as he addresses the media ahead of Wales' Pool A clash against Australia
Twelve young people have been selected to follow a one year WRU Coach Core apprenticeship programme. Coach Core was set up by the Royal Foundation of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and Prince Harry as part of the Olympics legacy in 2012 and the Duke of Cambridge was on hand to meet the apprentices on their first day in the job. The programme has been funded by the Hunter Foundation.
The WRU has launched a campaign to create a long term legacy for Welsh club rugby by highlighting the advantages of volunteering. Rhian Edwards, a volunteer at Seven Sisters, has enjoyed many benefits of her volunteering at a grassroots rugby club including being part of the Rugby World Cup volunteer workforce after being nominated by the WRU - and the WRU is asking for more people to develop their 'Welsh rugby roots'.