Wed 3rd January 18 :

Passing the ball at Rhino

Marcus Rule to succeed Andrew Moss as Chairman at leading rugby brand.

There has been a change of Chairman at Rhino, one of the world's fastest growing rugby brands. Former Aviva CEO Andrew Moss has handed over to IT entrepreneur Marcus Rule

Moss has held the role for over 5 years, during which time Rhino has undergone considerable transformation both in global reach and diversity of product offering. The group acquired Powa Products of New Zealand in 2012, concluded a licence with United World Sports of the US to cover the Americas in 2014 and last year signed a significant licensing deal with leading Japanese trading house Itochu for that market.

Rule followed a career in the City by founding Rule Financial in 1997 and grew the specialist banking IT group to a turnover of £60 million with 800 staff in 6 countries before selling it last year to the German business GFT.

Both men played in the front row for Oxford University – Moss as a hooker in the late 1970s and and Rule as a prop in the mid 1980s.

Comments Andrew Moss: "I have enjoyed my 5 years as Rhino Chairman enormously and feel we have made significant progress during that time towards being a leading global rugby brand with increasing geographical and product reach and I am excited by our prospects around Rugby World Cup 2019 in Japan in particular. I am pleased to remain a significant shareholder and look forward to seeing Marcus take the group on to the next stage".

Comments Marcus Rule: "I am looking forward tremendously to the challenge of continuing Rhino's growth, and in particular as the group looks increasingly to growth markets in Asia and the Rugby World Cup in Japan in 2019".

Reg Clark, Group CEO commented: "On behalf of all Rhino's stakeholders I would like to sincerely thank Andrew for his tremendous efforts on behalf of the group. His Chairmanship has witnessed a rapid growth of our business, and tremendous progress on many fronts. I am also personally excited about the prospects of working with Marcus who has recently shown a remarkable record in building shareholder value in a growth business – he and Andrew apart from anything else also share a tremendous enthusiasm for the game and business of rugby. Passion for rugby at all levels from international to grass roots is an integral part of Rhino's brand DNA".

NatWest has today announced that it will sponsor the 2018 Six Nations Rugby Championship, which will be named NatWest Six Nations.

Previously sponsored by NatWest's parent brand RBS, the agreement extends RBS' partnership with Six Nations Rugby.

Welcoming the partnership, Six Nations Rugby CEO John Feehan said: "We are delighted to be announcing NatWest as Title Sponsor of the NatWest 6 Nations and the extension of our relationship with RBS. They have been excellent partners over the past 15 years and we know what an outstanding role they have played and will continue to play in the success of our Championship.

"I am sure it will be a wonderful event in 2018 with NatWest on board. They know how this great Championship works and there is no doubt that it is a very positive development for both us and for NatWest ahead of next season. We greatly look forward to it".

Commenting on the sponsorship, David Wheldon, Chief Marketing Officer at NatWest, said: "We have been title sponsors of the Six Nations for the last 15 years and are delighted to be renewing our sponsorship for a further year under our customer-facing NatWest brand.

"The 2018 NatWest 6 Nations will provide us with a platform to engage and build affinity with our customers and to offer our continued support to a sport with which we have had a long running and mutually beneficial relationship. The Six Nations also has a strong European reach where we also serve our customers through our NatWest brand."

NatWest has a strong rugby heritage and for the least five years has supported more than 700 community rugby clubs across England and Wales via NatWest RugbyForce. The 2018 Championship kicks off on 3 February 2018 with Wales hosting Scotland in the opening fixture at Principality Stadium.

Dragons are delighted to announce that Industrial Automation and Control Ltd (IAC) have furthered their sponsorship with the region, for the coming seasons.

The Queensway Meadows, Newport-based company will take pride of place on the Dragons home and away jerseys on the right hand side shoulder.

IAC is one of the leading industrial control systems integrators in the UK, with operations world-wide. The company operates from a modern facility in Newport, South Wales, employing over 65 people at this site and another 30 around the world.

Commenting on the new deal, IAC Ltd Marketing and HR Director Kath Lewis, said: "We are long term backers of the Dragons and are delighted to have been able to boost our support for the local team in this way.

"We actively support the Dragons and often entertain IAC Ltd's business guests from home and abroad at Dragon's games at Rodney Parade."

As well as featuring on the playing kit, IAC Ltd will sponsor newly signed South African International Zane Kirchner and Dragons stalwart Lewis Evans.

Dragons Commercial Sales Manager, Dai Jenkins added; "IAC have been a partner of the Dragons for many years.

"The company is an avid supporter of the Region and have a business in South Africa which works hand-in-hand with the expansion of the Guinness PRO14. It's a very exciting time for the company and we are delighted that they have chosen us to help promote their brand."

World Rugby has announced the appointment of SECOM as an Official Sponsor of Rugby World Cup 2019 in Japan.

The security giant is partnering with the showcase event for the first time, but is a long-standing partner of rugby in the host nation through the Japan Rugby Football Union, Sunwolves Super Rugby team and the Top League.

Under the deal, SECOM will provide security expertise to the tournament organisers to support operational delivery for the tournament that will be played across 12 host cities between 20 September and 2 November.

World Rugby Chairman Bill Beaumont said: "World Rugby is delighted to be welcoming SECOM to the Rugby World Cup commercial programme family for the first time as an official sponsor.

"SECOM is a true supporter of rugby in Japan and a brand-leader, and we look forward to partnering with them to channel that passion and expertise into ensuring a spectacular Rugby World Cup 2019 in Japan.

"The appointment of another global brand to the growing Rugby World Cup 2019 commercial portfolio, further reflects the profile and prestige of one of the world's biggest and best-loved events."

SECOM Co. Ltd. President, Yasuo Nakayama added: "I am excited that Rugby World Cup 2019 will be held in Japan. Sponsoring this international event, the first in Asia, is a true privilege for us and we look forward to bringing our security expertise to ensure the smooth running of the tournament.

"I would like to express my heartfelt gratitude to everyone involved in hosting and running Rugby World Cup 2019. I wish the event a great success and the participating players all the best."

The Rugby World Cup 2019 commercial programme now features a full inventory of six Worldwide Partners: Emirates; Heineken; Land Rover; Mastercard; Société Générale and DHL, all confirmed in record time with record value, and now Canon, TOTO Ltd and SECOM as Official Sponsors with continued sponsor interest extremely high.

Fiji Airways Drua Head Coach, Senirusi Seruvkula has today released the names of the twenty six (26) Fiji AirwaysDrua players that will represent Fiji for the first two matches that will be played in Australia in the 2017 National Rugby Championship.

The selection sees a good combination of experienced and young players who have either represented the Flying Fijians, Fiji Warriors and FRU's Provincial Competition and the team will play their first match against Brisbane City at Ballymore stadium in Brisbane, when the season kicks off next Saturday, 2 September.

Coach Seruvakula is confident that the selected team will perform well in their first two matches of the competition.

FRU CEO Mr John O'Connor reminded the players of the importance of them performing to their best in their matches in Australia and urged them to be good ambassadors for the country.

"Mr O'Connor also called upon all the Fijian families and supporters in Brisbane to come out in numbers to support the boys next Saturday at Ballymore Stadium."

Coach Seruvakula has named Flying Fijian John Stewart as Captain of the Fiji Airways Drua Team. The Team departs the Country tomorrow morning

The Fiji Airways Drua Selected Team:

Joeli Veitayaki, Osea Naganilau, Eroni Mawi, Ratunaisa Nauma, Samu Suguturaga, Kalivati Tawake, Mosese Ducivaki, Peni Naulago, Samu Saqiwa, Apisai Tauyavuca, Vasikali Mudu, Peni Raidre, Filimoni Seru, Mosese Voka, Sakiusa Nadruku, Frank Lomani, Seru Cavuilati, Peceli Nacebe, Kini Douglas, Apete Daveta, Eroni Vasiteri, Cyril Reece, John Stewart, Eroni Sau, Aporosa Tabulawaki, Apisalome Waqatabu

The Barbarians have a new partnership with Paysafe Group plc, a leading global payments provider based in the UK.

In the next few weeks the Baa-Baas have matches scheduled in Australia, before returning to Twickenham to play World Champions New Zealand for the Killik Cup on November 4. They then travel to Munster where, on Friday November 10, Tonga will become the famous club's 21st international opposition. Paysafe had already featured on the Barbarians' match shirts in the fixtures against an England XV in May and Ulster in June 2017.

Following the thrilling Lions series draw this summer, British and Irish rugby fans are hungry to see a star-studded Barbarians side celebrate the 125th Anniversary of the double World Champions and current number one side in the world. The Baa-Baas have a proud history of dazzling, expansive rugby, including 'That Try' against the All Blacks in 1973, widely regarded as the best phase of rugby ever played and the benchmark all Barbarians teams aspire to.

As part of this partnership, Paysafe are also celebrating their relationship with Help for Heroes under the banner of "Paysafe Payback". Already enjoying close affiliations with rugby, leading charity Help for Heroes empowers Service Personnel and Military Veterans with life-changing injuries and illnesses to reach their full potential. The Armed Forces are highly trained, selfless, courageous and focused people, and Help for Heroes believes that those prepared to put their lives second deserve a second chance at life.

In the build-up to the fixture with New Zealand, Paysafe will be using their access to the Barbarians squad to provide some memorable experiences for veterans and their families supported by Help for Heroes. Firstly, they will be holding a joint Barbarians and Help for Heroes training session. This would bring together veterans and the Barbarians squad in a Sports Recovery event, a once in a lifetime experience. In addition to this, Paysafe is creating a "Payback Matchday Experience" at the forthcoming Twickenham fixture, providing tickets and pre-game hospitality for the families of injured servicemen and women. In addition, Paysafe is hosting members of the England Women's Rugby side that reached the final of Women's Rugby World Cup 2017 in August as guests at the "Payback Matchday Experience."

Oscar Nieboer, CMO, Paysafe Group, said: "We are extremely excited to be partnering with the world-famous Barbarians and Help for Heroes. This gives us an opportunity to show our dedication and gratitude to injured servicemen and women, our employees and our customers. In keeping with our company-wide ethos, we champion and support the overlooked in society and our involvement in this initiative reflects that. There is a strong and emotive bond between rugby and the Armed Forces. Loyalty, bravery and sacrifice are core principles for both, they resonate strongly with rugby fans."

John Spencer, Barbarian FC Chairman, said: "We are looking forward to working with Paysafe as the Barbarians continue to go from strength to strength on and off the pitch. The Barbarians are a unique rugby club known the world over for their commitment to excellence and adventure. We celebrate attacking play, the love of the game and the bonds of friendship that it forges. These values are as relevant today as they were when the club was founded in 1890 and we're delighted to be working with Paysafe and the Help for Heroes initiatives to support injured servicemen and women."

Simon Halliday, Help for Heroes Patron, said: "I have very fond memories of representing the Barbarians in the 1980s and am thrilled that Paysafe, which supports Help for Heroes, has aligned themselves with the team. The support shown to Help for Heroes by Paysafe through this partnership provides a real boost to the servicemen and women currently undergoing the recovery process. Paysafe is providing incredible experiences to motivate those in rehabilitation, creating memories for them that will last a lifetime. Help for Heroes' ties with the sport of rugby have always run deep and the whole sport should be proud of the way it continues to support our heroes."


Images from PA Images

Three-year agreement between Virgin and RFU
Find out more and get access to exclusive offers, here
The Rugby Football Union (RFU) has announced a new long-term partnership with Virgin Active, the world's leading lifestyle and fitness brand, which becomes England Rugby's official fitness partner.

The three-year agreement will see Virgin Active and the RFU collaborate to bring an innovative digital fitness programme and new gym fitness classes inspired by rugby to the public. These will be launched in the new year. Virgin Active will also create discounted membership offers exclusive to all RFU affiliated clubs and registered players.

The new deal sees Virgin Active benefitting from a range of partnership rights including the ability to utilise men's and women's players in activating the partnership, advertising, CRM, and digital rights."This is the RFU's first digitally-led rights partnership."

"We are delighted to secure this new partnership with Virgin Active," said RFU chief executive Steve Brown.

"This is the RFU's first digitally-led rights partnership which is testament to our strong digital presence across multiple platforms and CRM capabilities. To have another leading global brand join our partner portfolio demonstrates the ever increasing appeal of rugby."

Virgin Active MD Robert Cook added: "Working with the RFU is a fantastic development for the UK business, it's an institution close to my heart and we're delighted to bring the game even closer to our members.

"We're excited for the coming collaboration, as we work side by side with the RFU as the official fitness partner. England Rugby will have access to the very best in holistic movement, ensuring that fans and players alike can learn more about the best methods for optimum mind and body health."

Find out more and get access to exclusive offers, here.

Tue 26th September 17 :

Flybe extend Chiefs deal

Exeter Rugby Club Chairman and Chief Executive, Tony Rowe OBE, agrees a new one-year sponsorship deal with Flybe Chief Executive Officer, Christine Ourmieres-Widener. Picture: @PPAUK
By Mark Stevens

Exeter Rugby Club and Flybe, Europe's largest regional airline, are pleased to announce a new one-year extension to their sponsorship agreement.

Once again, the reigning Aviva Premiership champions will feature the carrier's distinctive logo on the back of their playing shirts and on signage around their Sandy Park Stadium.

The renewed deal was confirmed this week by Exeter Rugby Club Chief Executive and Chairman, Tony Rowe OBE, alongside Christine Ourmieres-Widener, and takes the relationship between the two parties into an eighth consecutive year.

Tony Rowe OBE said: "This extension further demonstrates the great strength of our long-term relationship and the success of our partnership with Flybe.

"Since our promotion into the Premiership back in 2010, Flybe has supported us every step of the way and together we have worked very closely in supporting one another's exposure, not just locally here in Exeter, but also much further afield as well.

"Moving forward we will continue to collaborate on our shared values, passion and commitment to the community, as well as looking forward to what we can achieve together in the future."

Christine Ourmieres-Widener added: "I am delighted that Flybe has committed to sponsoring the Chiefs for another year. Flybe connects with the local communities it serves in many different ways. With Exeter as our home base and with many of our customers and staff being avid fans of the Chiefs, we are proud to have supported our local rugby team for many years.

"That they have been so hugely successful is an added bonus. Last year, they flew with us to many of their key matches and we look forward to welcoming the team on board again as they defend their Premiership crown."

Wigan Warriors Rugby League Club are delighted to announce that 188BET have signed a contract extension, which will see the betting giants remain as Official Main Sponsor for the 2017 season.
The extension will see the 188BET logo displayed on the front of Wigan's match and replica shirts.

188BET have a long association with sport having been involved with rugby league, football, cricket and snooker for many years. Current sponsors of Gloucester County Cricket Club, 188BET appeared on the shoulder of the Wigan Warriors shirt in 2010 before renewing their partnership with the Club for the current 2016 Super League season.

Wigan Warriors' Marketing Director Simon Collinson said:

"Having previously sponsored Wigan in 2010 we knew that 188BET would be great partners. We've forged a very close working relationship with the team at 188BET and look forward to another strong year in 2017.

"188BET have worked really hard to engage with Wigan fans, interacting regularly through social and digital media channels with competitions and exclusive content. Furthermore, they've supported a number of initiatives during the course of year, including most recently the distribution of 5,000 Frank-Paul Nuuausala face masks at the huge derby against St Helens when the Kiwi International – nicknamed 'the Wrecking Ball' – made his home debut.

"Conversations have been on-going about the future of this partnership for several months now and we're delighted that 188BET were happy to commit for a further year having seen great value in the partnership."

188BET's Managing Director, Nigel Singer added,

"We are thrilled to be announcing an extension of our main shirt sponsorship agreement with Wigan Warriors. We forged a very strong and productive working relationship in year one and we jumped at the chance to extend our association for another year. We will ensure that the same drive, effort and commitment goes into the partnership for next season as we feel certain that this great Club will continue to thrive, develop and compete at the very highest level for many years to come. We naturally wish Wigan Warriors every success"

Due to the timing of this agreement fans can be assured that the 2017 Wigan Warriors kits are now in production with the winner of the fan vote – where, in a unique move, fans got to choose the 2017 home shirt design – unveiled when sales commence in mid-November.


Bath Rugby and Land Rover UK have today announced a new partnership which sees Land Rover become the Official Vehicle Supplier of the Aviva Premiership club.

The partnership is an extension of Land Rover's long standing support of rugby in the UK which includes being the Official Vehicle of Premiership Rugby, Principal Partner of Welsh regional side Cardiff Blues, Official Vehicle Partner of Glasgow Warriors, Main Club Partner of Wasps and Title Sponsor of the UK grassroots rugby programme, the Land Rover Premiership Rugby Cup.

The announcement was made today at Bath's training ground, Farleigh House, with the help of Bath first team players Freddie Burns, Taulupe Faletau, Rhys Priestland and Semesa Rokoduguni.

The deal is a three way partnership with the Club, Land Rover UK and Dick Lovett, the leading prestige retailer group in the South West who will be opening a new state of the art Jaguar Land Rover dealership in Melksham in the coming months.

The Land Rover logo will feature on the back of the Bath playing shirt and shorts for the first time when they host Saracens at The Rec for the Club's first home game of the season, and throughout the season Land Rover will be looking to use the partnership to engage and reward the Club's fans and wider Bath community.

Speaking on the announcement, Matt Powell, Business Development Director, Bath Rugby, said: "Land Rover is a fantastic brand fit for the Club. They have such a long and rich heritage in rugby and are a well-respected global brand. We have enjoyed working with them in their original capacity as a Premiership Rugby partner, and welcome them to our strong family of commercial partners here at Bath Rugby."

Scott Dicken, Marketing Director, Jaguar Land Rover UK, said: "We are delighted to partner with such a prestigious club that shares so many of the same values as Land Rover. We are proud to have been such a long term supporter of rugby in the UK, and this new partnership will enable us to complement the work we do through our Premiership Rugby activity and further engage with the Bath community.

"This is also a special year for us as it marks ten years of the Land Rover Premiership Cup – the nationwide grassroots programme that has already engaged over 70,000 boys and girls. We wish everyone at the Club the best for the new season."

Richard Davies, Head of Business at Dick Lovett Land Rover, added, "This new partnership is extremely exciting for everyone involved in the new Jaguar Land Rover dealership in Melksham, which opens in December. We look forward to working closely with the staff, players and fans at Bath Rugby and being able to offer our customers some fantastic ways to get involved with one of the country's leading and most loved rugby clubs."

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