World Rugby has today launched a new ‘Women in Rugby’ brand identity and landmark global campaign ‘Try and Stop Us’ aimed at driving increased participation and engagement among fans, audiences, players and investors in the women’s game.
The global campaign, developed with the support of national unions and regions, uses striking imagery and the inspiring stories of 15 women and girls involved in rugby at all levels of the game from around the world, who are ‘unstoppable’. They have challenged barriers to participation and demonstrated how rugby has empowered them to get where they are today, both on and off the pitch.
On Wednesday, the World Rugby Council will convene with 17 female members in position for the first time – the largest-ever representation of women on Council – following the transformational governance reform that was introduced in 2017 as a result of World Rugby’s ambitious strategic global action plan, Accelerating the global development of women in rugby 2017-25.
Women’s rugby is one of sport’s great success stories, experiencing unprecedented growth around the world. Participation levels are at an all-time high with 2.7 million players globally – making up more than a quarter of the global playing population – and a 28 per cent increase in registered players since 2017.
For the second year running, more young girls have got into rugby globally than boys and more than 40 per cent of rugby’s 400 million fanbase are female.
World Rugby, in partnership with its unions, is determined to grasp the opportunity and further boost the global game.
World Rugby Chairman Sir Bill Beaumont said: "We firmly believe that the development of women in rugby is the single greatest opportunity for our sport to grow in the next decade, which is why we are proud to share our exciting new brand identity today.
"Not only is women’s rugby experiencing unprecedented growth around the world but we are well on the way to realising our vision of a more equitable game for all through the implementation of our ambitious strategic women’s action plan, which is having a transformational effect on all areas of the game.
"From the highest levels of the sport’s governance to grassroots participation, we are wholly committed to driving gender-balance and ensuring that women have equal opportunities both on and off the field, driving increased involvement and engagement in the women’s game from fans, audiences, players and investors."
The unique brand proposition will underpin all women’s rugby activity, giving it its own identity and playing a central role in inspiring more women to get involved in the sport, growing the global fan base and attracting more investment into the game.
World Rugby Women’s Advisory Committee Chairman Serge Simon said: "Rugby is one of the world’s fastest-growing team sports and women are at the heart of the success story. They are driving growth on and off the field, particularly in emerging rugby markets as trailblazers, inspirers and champions.
"The ‘Try and Stop Us’ campaign focuses on the concept that when you choose rugby, it’s not just the game and your team-mates that change your life but also the values of rugby. Through its manifesto and empowering film, the campaign highlights the idea that rugby can help you overcome obstacles in life and make you unstoppable."
Joining World Rugby leadership at the launch today were three of the 15 Unstoppable global ambassadors: USA Sevens player Kiki Morgan; World Rugby Council member and English women’s rugby pioneer Deborah Griffin; and Ireland international Leah Lyons.
World Rugby Chief Executive Brett Gosper said: "By launching this unique brand identity and proposition today we are demonstrating our unwavering commitment to growing participation and exposure for women’s rugby around the globe, a core strand of the women in rugby action plan.
"The campaign – Try and Stop Us – is a call to action designed to drive engagement with the women’s game by showcasing unstoppable women in rugby around the world. It focuses on celebrating the unique values of rugby and aligns with our overarching message, Rugby Builds Character. We want to communicate to every female across that globe, that when you choose to start playing rugby, it has the power to make you unstoppable."
World Rugby General Manager of Women’s Rugby Katie Sadleir added: "We are extremely pleased to share today’s significant milestone as we move further towards the full implementation of our 2017-25 strategic women’s plan and our vision to accelerate the growth and development of women in rugby around the world.
"Through the dedicated work of the Women’s Advisory Committee and across all aspects of the organisation, World Rugby is making swift progress towards the objective of gender balance and equal opportunities throughout the sport, both on and off the field of play."
The campaign has already transcended the world of rugby, gaining support from high profile individuals from the wider sporting and international community, including 39-time Grand Slam tennis champion Billie Jean King, International Olympic Committee President Thomas Bach and Dame Heather Rabbatts DBE, the first female independent director of The Football Association.
View messages of support for the #TryAndStopUs campaign HERE >>
More information on the #TryAndStopUs campaign can be found at the new www.women.rugby website launched today with content promoting #WomenInRugby including features on all 15 ‘unstoppables’.