Rugby is one of the most popular sports worldwide. Rugby is particularly popular in the UK and New Zealand, but which country loves Rugby the most and where is rugby bigger and has better potential for its growth?

Rugby In New Zealand

In New Zealand, rugby dominates when it comes to the most popular sport. Not even football, a highly popular sport worldwide, comes close to Rugby in New Zealand. This is a strange sight when looking to place wagers at the most trusted NZ gambling sites since instead of football games and odds coming up first you are bombarded with Rugby Games!

Rugby is New Zealand’s national sport and has now made part of NZ’s rich culture and history. There are over 156,000 confirmed registered rugby players and are some of the most competitive players found globally, competing with English, Australian and Irish players who are renowned for their skills.

It’s estimated that the number of NZ players is likely to grow, the nation is in Rugby Love and is brought up with a rugby culture. Especially when a lot of NZ’s success in international tournaments comes from Rugby!

Rugby In The United Kingdom

There’s no doubt that Rugby is one of the UK’s favourite sports to watch and take part in. Although in the UK football is more popular than Rugby it can be argued that they’ve had more success in Rugby.

Although Rugby is only the 5th most popular sport In the UK, in England alone there are over 2000 clubs and 300,000 registered players making them the country with the most Rugby players worldwide.

England is also responsible for the record of most fans in attendance with an astounding 82,000 at the Twickenham stadium found in London.

Where Is Rugby Bigger?

From stats alone, one would say that rugby in the UK is much larger than it is in NZ. Imfact it looks to be much larger with just 300,000 in England alone compared to NZ’s 156,000. When looking at such stats one also needs to consider the population of both the UK and NZ to make a proper comparison.

Although England still ranks higher in terms of popularity when compared to New Zealand, England had a significantly lower viewing with just 240K viewers when compared to Nz’s 450K+ views.

It’s hard to say whether Rugby is bigger in New Zealand or the UK and when comparing social media England take the crown with New Zealand taking in a very close 2nd place. It’s safe to say these two nations have a huge love for Rugby but ultimately with a smaller population, it would have to go to New Zealand, especially when considering their viewing.

Is Rugby Getting Increasingly Popular?

From the viewings of the 2019 Japan World Cup which went up to a sweet 857 million viewers, one could clearly see an increase of interest in the world of rugby. It’s also safe to say that England’s viewership problems seemed to be gone after an astounding 40% increase after 2021 when Rugby games were transferred to a subscription-based platform on BT Sports.

In New Zealand, we have seen a constant increase in popularity with little to no signs of slowing down. It’s crystal clear that Rugby is increasing in popularity worldwide, although it’s impossible to say whether or not it’s growing faster in the UK or NZ.

The UK did see a downtrend prior to the 2019 season and faced hardships and impending doom, unlike New Zealand which just kept climbing and climbing in popularity.

After 2019 it seemed that something had rekindled the fire in the English as the number of players significantly rose to new heights. It should be stated that the English have a number of other sports they are fond of. Horse racing, Tennis, Cricket and of course Football all rank higher in popularity in the UK and to still have such a large following is pretty crazy.

Rugby has a rich history and will continue its journey of creating some of the sporting world’s most spectacular moments!


With the National 1 soon to begin come September the Rugby world looks to increase its popularity. The debate for the UK vs NZ for the biggest rugby nation and increasingly popularity is a battle that will continue at least for the coming years.