World Rugby plans for a faster, more fan-friendly game. Image: AFP

World Rugby targets game-changing upgrades

Could rugby be getting faster and easier to understand? World Rugby explores changes to boost fan engagement and grow the sport.


World Rugby plans for a faster, more fan-friendly game. Image: AFP

World Rugby, the sport’s governing body, is proactively seeking ways to make rugby more dynamic and engaging for both current and potential fans. Their recent “Shape of the Game” forum, held in London, brought together rugby’s key stakeholders to brainstorm ways to propel the sport into an exciting new era.

Rugby’s Evolution: Key Areas of Focus

The forum pinpointed several areas where changes could significantly impact rugby’s appeal:

  • Speed and Flow: Creating a Faster Rugby Experience Lengthy stoppages can disrupt the game’s momentum. Proposals are on the table to streamline play, increasing the pace and keeping fans on the edge of their seats.
  • Rugby Made Simple: Clarity for Fans Rugby’s complex ruleset can be intimidating for newcomers. The forum explored ideas to simplify terminology, on-field markings, and broadcast presentation, making the game easier to follow.
  • Women’s Rugby: A Spotlight on Growth The women’s game is brimming with potential. Strategies to raise its profile, increase funding, and attract new fans are crucial for rugby’s overall growth.
  • Rugby Player Welfare: Safety at the Forefront Rugby’s physical nature demands continuous attention to player safety. The forum is a platform to explore ways to reduce injury risks, manage concussion protocols, and support players’ long-term health.
  • Rugby Disciplinary Process: Fairness and Transparency Consistent and clear disciplinary procedures are essential for both players and fans. World Rugby will review how to make the process more efficient, fair, and easy for fans to understand.

Global Ambitions

“Shape of the Game 2024 represents an important milestone in defining the future of our sport,” stated Sir Bill Beaumont, World Rugby chairman. “This is about expanding rugby’s fanbase and ensuring the game offers a thrilling spectacle for a modern audience.”

Beaumont emphasized that the benefits of these changes would ripple through all levels of rugby.

“It is fantastic to see such a strong desire from all stakeholders – players, coaches, match officials, competition owners, unions and regions – to evolve the game to set us up for success, not just at the elite level, but at the community game.”