Australian Rugby has been given a much-needed boost, securing Vodafone as a Super Rugby sponsor on the eve of the 2017 season.
Asteron Life opted not to renew its contract with the ARU at the end of last year, leaving the governing body searching for a new naming rights partner for the competition.
The telecom giant has jumped on with just undertwo weeks until the Super Rugby season start, with a four-year deal to take them through to 2020, and will also become back of jersey sponsor for Australia's women's XVs side, the Wallaroos.
ARU CEO Bill Pulver said it was exciting to have a long-term partner on board.
"Vodafone and Australian Rugby have a long history together dating back to when the Vodafone logo first appeared on the Wallabies jersey in 1998 and we are proud to welcome them back as the naming rights partner for Super Rugby in Australia for the next four years.
"You could argue that this is the biggest 'comeback' in Australian Rugby this season and we look forward to working with Vodafone to make this 22nd season of Super Rugby in Australia the best yet.
"We are also incredibly proud to have Vodafone's support for the Wallaroos in a huge year for Women's Rugby with the World Cup taking place in Ireland in August."
Vodafone Australia Customer Business Director, Ben McIntosh said the cross-country base of the Super Rugby competition was convenient for the company, who last sponsored rugby in 2003.
"Vodafone is thrilled to be returning to Rugby, where we had fantastic success building our brand in the early 2000s,
"It's a sport we all love, and gives us a great opportunity to really connect with Australians right across the country.
"With teams based across the country, Super Rugby gives Vodafone a chance to show off the significant investment in the network we have made throughout Australia."
The announcement came at the launch of the 2017 Super Rugby competition and amid ongoing reviews over the structure of the competition moving beyond 2018.