With support from Athletes of the World, a team for athletes led by Hannah Mills, double Olympic Champion and Melissa Wilson, GB Rowing team, more than 200 of the world’s top rugby players from 13 countries have joined forces in a letter to World Rugby calling on the sport’s governing bodies to “safeguard a better world”.
Athletes have been motivated to sign the letter after seeing the sport and its players impacted by flooded pitches, forest fires, air pollution and drought; with World Cup matches postponed by typhoons and the Rugby 7s players facing the hottest Olympics on record. They are hoping that their collective voice will empower World Rugby and National Governing Bodies to adopt an ambitious strategy at this week’s World Rugby Council Meeting.
Supporters include retired Wallabies captain David Pocock, England players Ugo Monye, Jonathan Joseph, Ruaridh McConnochie and Shaunagh Brown, Scotland’s Jonny Gray, Josh Bayliss and Jamie Ritchie, Irish 7s and Love Island winner Greg O’Shea and Australia’s Sharni Williams.
David Pocock, who won 78 caps for the Wallabies from 2008 to 2019 says:
“Athletes are often criticised when they speak up about climate change. But what this letter shows is that there are hundreds of players from around the world who are eager to tackle climate change, to address the contribution our sport is making to the problem we all face and to bring the rugby community with us.”
“This is especially important because the climate crisis is already impacting so many of our communities. Whether it’s rising sea levels and more extreme storms in the Pacific or the bushfires in Australia that took lives, homes, and destroyed millions of hectares. It also forced my former team, the ACT Brumbies, to relocate their pre-season as Canberra was blanketed with smoke for months. Climate breakdown is already here for rugby. We must be part of the solutions.”
To read the letter, and read more about Athletes of the World click here.