China entering 'golden era' of rugby

(Getty)
(Getty)

China is predicting rugby will become a mass-participation sport within the next decade.

In partnership with Alisports, more than NZ$140 million will be pumped into the sport in an attempt to grow the game.

A match between China and Indonesia in the 2015 Asian Rugby Championship Division 3 East tournament.

China finished second in the tournament behind Guam and are currently ranked 68th in the world (Source: Indonesian Rugby)

According to CNN, in 2016, 76,000 people played rugby in China and officials predict by the time of the next Rugby World Cup, as many as a million people will play the 15-man game.

(File)
(File)

"We have a fixed objective of one million players in 10 years, but that's being readjusted by the federation to five years I believe," says World Rugby CEO Brett Gosper. 

"As a nation, it's the No. 1 target not just for sport but all businesses."

The wishlist doesn't stop there, within the next four years officials hope to have 30,000 coaches, 15,000 match officials and offer rugby as a sport to play at more than 10,000 universities.

(Getty)
(Getty)

Asia Rugby's Gene Tong says the upcoming Rugby World Cup in 2019 and 2020 Olympic games in Japan, which features rugby sevens, are an incentive for the nation.

"It could possibly be the golden era for rugby in China," he said.

"As more schools and universities are taking up the game across the whole of China and World Rugby's programs are gaining popularity and being well accepted in China."

The Sunwolves play in the Super Rugby competition (Getty)
The Sunwolves play in the Super Rugby competition (Getty)

In 2015, the Tokyo based Sunwolves became the first Japanese rugby team to compete in the Super Rugby competition featuring the best players from the southern hemisphere.

Newshub.