World Cup infection – Welsh rugby clubs see a rise in popularity

Membership increases and great atmosphere around the clubs are being reported by club managers and players around South Wales

Rugby clubs in Cardiff and South Wales have seen an increase in membership and an overall improved atmosphere following the beginning of Wales’ campaign in Japan. 

The buildup to the World Cup and recent performances of the Welsh national team are contributing to a new membership boost with more people coming to try-out rugby and to the formation of an enthusiastic and motivated atmosphere surrounding the clubs. 

John Manders, manager of the Old Illtydian RFC, said, “the club has noticed an increase of players joining the youth teams, especially the girls’ teams where there has been about 10 new joiners since the beginning of the season.” Other clubs have also experienced similar growths in membership. 

The increase in numbers is expected to continue over the next few months especially in the case of a good performance by Wales in the knockout rounds. 

Speaking of the club’s future, manager of St Albans RFC Ian Watkins, said he was confident the team would grow in interest in the next few months, thanks to the Cup’s spreading popularity. 

The atmosphere around the clubs is being affected and teams have reported a vibrant enthusiasm during and after the games. With the World Cup being played in Japan this year, most teams have been organising breakfast meetups to watch the games together and learn from professional teams. 

One of the players at Gwernyfed RFC, Caitlin Pugh, said that new members have been particularly interested in watching the games with the team as it becomes a talking point and a way to make friends, as well as take notes about the games and improve. 

“The coaches learn quite a lot as well from the World Cup, especially in the tackle area, we pay great attention to the games,” said Mr Manders.