2016 was a defining year for the sport of rugby and HSBC continued to play an important role in the continued growth of the game across both existing and newly developing rugby markets. Building on a hugely successful Rugby World Cup in 2015, rugby’s inclusion into the Rio Olympic programme was a pivotal moment for the sport. The sporting world was captivated by the incredible performances on show in both the men’s and women’s Olympic tournaments – where Fiji who won Gold as their first ever medal of any colour and the Aussie ‘Golden Girls’ combined to light up the Games and launch rugby onto the world stage.  As vested partners in the sport, HSBC will continue to help drive this current growth trajectory through helping attract new audiences in new countries and ultimately attract new players to the game.

In 2016 we commissioned The Futures Company, a strategic consultancy, to produce a new report into the future of rugby. The findings of ‘The Future of Rugby: An HSBC Report’  ranged from new formats and new technology to identifying which nations might be the rugby powerhouses of the future. Post-Rio Rugby clearly has a huge opportunity – it’s up to us to make sure we grab it.

As Rugby Sevens grows from strength to strength, we are extremely proud of our position as the title sponsor of the HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series and the HSBC World Rugby Women’s Sevens Series. Last season saw the Series expand to five new iconic global cities with Cape Town, Sydney, Vancouver, Singapore and Paris hosting the high flying stars of Rugby Sevens. With new innovations and improved play drawing in bigger audiences than ever before, the HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series is in a position of great strength to capitalise on its recent Olympic exposure.

Our sponsorship of the HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series has allowed us to run Sevens-focused training programmes across the globe, including our partnership with the world’s biggest schools Sevens tournaments in Rosslyn Park and our international grass roots programme continues to gather pace by introducing more starters to the game through HSBC Rugby coaching programs across Asia, Brazil, Canada, the USA and Hong Kong. With the world having been captivated by Sevens in 2016, we hope to give as many of these new fans as possible the opportunity to try the game for the first time and support their ongoing rugby journey.