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Children participating in rugby in England 2010-2018

During the observation period, rugby’s popularity has dropped among children between 11 and 15 years in England and has increased among children between five and ten years. In 2017/2018, 14.6 percent of 11 to 15 year olds participated in rugby in the 4 years prior to the survey. Participation peaked in 2011/2012, when 22.8 percent of the children in that age group played rugby.

The Rugby Football Union is the governing body for the rugby union in England.

  The Rugby Football Union received 37 million British pounds for rugby development investment and almost double, 70.7 million British pounds, in professional rugby investment in 2018. The largest sources of revenue in the same year were broadcasting and hospitality catering with 41.2 million British pounds in revenue each.

The number of people participating in rugby union has been declining.

  In 2018, there were 239,700 people who participated in rugby union at least twice a month at any intensity for any duration in England. In 2016, there were 259,600 playing rugby. In 2018, the most popular sport was running, followed by fitness with respectively 6.8 and 6.5 million monthly participants.

Share of children participating in rugby in the last 4 weeks in England from 2010 to 2018

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Release date

August 2018


United Kingdom (England)

Survey time period

2010/11 to 2017/18*

Number of respondents


Age group

5-15 years

Method of interview

Face-to-face interview

Supplementary notes

* Previous base:
2017/18: 5-10 year olds n= 909; 10-15 year olds n = 671;
2016/17: 5-10 year olds: n= 967; 10-15 year olds n=638.
2015/16: 5-10 year olds: n= 1,096; 10-15 year olds n=684.
2015/14: 5-10 year olds: n= 1,104; 10-15 year olds n=721.
2013/14: 5-10 year olds: n= 1,233; 10-15 year olds n=786.
2012/13: 5-10 year olds: n= 1,136; 10-15 year olds n=801.
2011/12: 5-10 year olds: n= 1,040; 10-15 year olds n=771.
2010/11: 5-10 year olds: n= 1,590; 10-15 year olds n=1,116.

Survey periods run April to March.

The source provides the following additional information: "Data for 5-10 year olds relates to out of school activities only. Data for 11-15 years olds relates to activities undertaken both in and out of school."

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Statistics on "Sport in England: Public Funding and Participation in the UK "

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