IRB ushers in new era with name change to World Rugby

Scotland's rugby team celebrate winning the International Rugby Board (IRB) Nations Cup in Bucharest June 21, 2009. REUTERS/Radu Sigheti

DUBLIN (Reuters) - The International Rugby Board (IRB) will undergo a second name change in 16 years when it becomes formally known as World Rugby in November as part of a rebranding programme, the sport’s governing body said on Thursday.

The new brand, including a revised logo, will be launched at the IRB World Rugby Conference and Exhibition in London on Nov. 17-18, with the new name taking effect from Nov. 19.

The governing body was initially founded in 1886 as the International Rugby Football Board by the Ireland, Scotland and Wales rugby unions before England joined in 1890.

It changed its name to the IRB in 1998.

Growth in player numbers and expansion into new markets as well as the sport’s reintroduction to the Olympic Games in 2016 had prompted the decision to rebrand itself, it said.

“We are committed to furthering that growth beyond our traditional family and fan base with a public that expects to be entertained, informed and interacted with,” IRB chairman Bernard Lapasset said in a statement. “This move is more than just a name change, it is a mission statement.”

The branding for the sport’s global showpiece, the rugby World Cup will remain in place until after next year’s event in England.

Reporting by Greg Stutchbury in Wellington; Editing by John O’Brien