VICTORIAN RUGBY UNION BOARD UPDATE
The Victorian Rugby Union (VRU) Board and Management are working closely with the Melbourne Rebels Rugby Union Ltd Board and Management (MRRU), Australian Rugby Union (ARU) and the State Government of Victoria to retain our Super Rugby team in Melbourne.
The VRU fully support the continuation of the Melbourne Rebels in the Super Rugby competition. Further, the VRU is fully supportive of the ARU’s desire to grow Rugby’s participation levels across the country. In that regard, the Rebels have been the most significant catalyst for Rugby’s growth in Victoria since their arrival 6 years ago. Indeed, since the inception of the Melbourne Rebels in 2011, Victorian Rugby participation has increased by 97 per cent.
As reported on 10 April 2017, Record Growth For Victorian Rugby the Victorian Rugby Union experienced unprecedented growth in 2016. Participation in the state has increased 38 per cent in 2016, to 15,829 participants, through 15-a-side Rugby, Sevens Rugby, VIVA 7s and Game-On primary school development program.
Along with growth in participation, VRU has seen record success at both National and International levels. In 2016 Victoria produced four Australian Schoolboys, eight Australian U20s representatives, two Australian Youth 7s and one Australian Wallaroo. The Victorian U18 Schoolboys team finished fourth at the National Championships behind NSW 1, NSW 2 and Combined States (defeating Queensland 1) and the Melbourne Rebels U20s qualified for the Super U20s final against Queensland (defeating NSW in the pool stages). In the critical pathways of U18s and U/20s, Victoria now clearly ranks as the third most successful Rugby province in the country.
Currently seven local Victorians have progressed through the Victorian Elite Pathway and have a contract with the Melbourne Rebels (Jordan Uelese, Rob Leota, Sione Tuipulotu, Trevor Hosea, Ah-Mu Tuimalealiifano, Ikapote Tupai & Fereti Sa’aga). There are a further two players who have progressed through the local Dewar Shield competition and have been contracted by the Melbourne Rebels (Sefa Naivalu and Murray Douglas).
Victorian Rugby continues to diversify the game to reflect the communities we live in, with growth in our women’s and youth girls competition (Shepparton the first rural club to enter a women’s team in 2017), Masters Rugby, Wheelchair Rugby (signed Partnership with Disability Sport and Recreation in February 2017) and the Melbourne Chargers, winners of the Bingham Cup in 2016.
The Victorian Rugby Union has a rich history spanning over 100 years. Sir Edward Weary Dunlop was the first born Victorian to play for Wallabies, Ewen McKenzie represented the Wallabies on 51 occasions and in more recent years Christian Lealiifano and Digby Ioane played their Junior Rugby in Victoria before playing for the Wallabies.
Melbourne is the sporting capital of the world and is forecast to be the largest city in Australia within 15 years. Victoria is the fastest growing state in Australia with in excess of 6 Million people residing in the state. The VRU’s principle objective is to grow the game of Rugby in Victoria.