Rugby playing numbers in New Zealand have increased and for the first time there are more than 150,000 registered rugby players. The biggest rise comes in women's rugby which has increased 12 percent since 2001. While these numbers sound impressive, there are actually far more players in most other top rugby nations with England having the most players (around 2 million), followed surprisingly by the USA (1.4 million). In both of these countries rugby is linked to education with schools and universities playing rugby.
Other interesting news to come from recently released statistics is that rugby remains dominant over football (soccer) in New Zealand which has about 100,000 registered players, while lawn bowls is going well with 93,000 players, with half of them being casual bowlers.
Touch which is a derivation of rugby has over 200,000 registered players which is a great offseason game for rugby players and that along with the inclusion of rugby in the Olympic Games is thought to have lead to the increase in rugby player numbers. Also the influence of the All Blacks and the Rugby World Cup 2011 could also have something to do with it.
Why do you think rugby playing numbers are growing?