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
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Geraint John has taken up the new role of WRU elite coach development manager having arrived in Wales last week. WRU TV caught up with him at the WRU rugby department's strategy day at the Millennium Stadium.