The Rugby Football League is delighted to announce an extended partnership with Specsavers which sees the trusted optician continue their involvement with the organisation for a fifth year.

Since their sponsorship at the Rugby League World Cup 2013, Specsavers has appeared on all Match Officials throughout the game – from the Betfred Super League, to Championship down to grassroots Rugby League and the recognised brand will be ever present once again in 2018.

Specsavers will continue to support their brand presence and marketing rights through a number of activations throughout the year, including the 'fifth official' campaign which in 2017 saw nine-year-old Jessica Marsh enjoy a once in a lifetime experience as part of the Match Officials Team at the Ladbrokes Challenge Cup Final.

Rugby Football League Interim Chief Executive Officer Ralph Rimmer said, "It is fantastic news that Specsavers are continuing their partnership with the Rugby Football League for another year.

"They have been a perfect match for sponsorship of our Match Officials at all levels of the game for the last four years and we're looking forward to working together once again in 2018."

Specsavers Head of Sport Sponsorship James Read said, "We're delighted to be continuing our longstanding sponsorship of Rugby League. Technological advancements in recent years have certainly helped umpires and referees, but we will always rely on their personal judgements too. At Specsavers we're glad to do our bit, where we can, to help ensure that they get the best possible support to do their job. We are also proud to support such an engaging sport from the elite game to grassroots."

Capgemini has become the Official GLOBAL INNOVATION PARTNER of the Men’s and Women’s HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series. This new multi-year partnership is a continuation of Capgemini’s long-term support for the sport of Rugby over the last 25 years, and is a natural fit for the Group, reflecting its strong heritage and international presence. Rugby Sevens also shares many common attributes with Capgemini including agility, innovation, inclusivity, fun and team spirit.
The HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series is the world circuit of Rugby Sevens, an Olympic discipline since 2016. This international competition includes 10 Men’s Tournaments and 5 Women’s across the globe in which 16 and 12 national sevens teams respectively, compete for points at each round for the Men’s and Women’s overall Series. A champion is crowned at the end of each Series based on points accumulated throughout the events. 2018 will also see the Rugby World Cup Sevens 2018 take place in July, hosted for the first time in San Francisco. Capgemini will be a key sponsor of this separate World Cup event too.
In addition to its global support, Capgemini will bring its expertise and passion for innovation and technology to the series with a focus on enhancing the fan experience for current and future spectators. During the series, it will be providing fans with greater access to deeper insights into the game of Rugby Sevens, the players and the teams. Examples of innovations Capgemini will apply to further bring the experience to life for the fans, will include the use of data and infographics to augment the tournament experience in stadiums, on television and social, as well as a web series that will combine Capgemini’s insights on the game, presented by a rugby expert, to share a deeper perspective on key aspects such as the tactics, performance and fun!
Needed both on and off the pitch, key values that are shared by both Capgemini[1] and the sport include boldness, trust, team spirit, freedom and fun. As an innovative and likeminded partner, Capgemini will help World Rugby to grow Rugby Sevens’ global footprint and the profile of the sport.
Paul Hermelin, Chairman and CEO, Capgemini Group: “Our sponsorship of the Sevens Series combines perfectly our heritage with our global reach, in an innovative and inclusive way. It is the next chapter in the story of Capgemini’s support for rugby. We are looking forward to enabling our clients to discover this fast-moving format, and I know that many of Capgemini’s 200,000 strong team are excited about supporting and even playing Rugby Sevens in the months to come.”
Bill Beaumont, World Rugby Chairman: “We are delighted to be welcoming Capgemini to our growing and global commercial family for Men’s and Women’s HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series and Rugby World Cup Sevens 2018.”
Capgemini has been present in the world of rugby for 25 years through its support of French rugby clubs and, on a global level, as a sponsor of the 2007 Rugby World Cup. Its visionary founder, the late Serge Kampf, was a lifelong rugby fan and sponsor of the sport. He said, “Rugby is a team sport in which you can’t accomplish anything without the rest of your teammates.”
Mon 22nd January 18 :

RPA Partners with Canterbury

Canterbury of New Zealand has today been confirmed as the official teamwear partner of The Rugby Players' Association (RPA), signing a new multiyear deal.

The world's leading rugby brand will supply the RPA with highly functional team clothing for use across a range of different activities within the organisation, while also supporting the RPA's many player welfare initiatives and working closely with players to develop their boot and protection products.

Established in 1904, Canterbury has been involved in rugby for more than 75 years and currently supply kit to numerous high-profile national rugby teams, including the British & Irish Lions, England Rugby and Ireland Rugby, as well as leading clubs such as Leinster, NZ Warriors and Bath Rugby.

Simon Rowe of Canterbury, said: "We're delighted to be working with the RPA and this new relationship reinforces Canterbury's commitment to developing the game. We're excited by the opportunity to work with the players to better understand their needs and enhance their experiences in the game."

RPA Group CEO Damian Hopley, said: "It's fantastic to welcome Canterbury on board as a RPA partner and we are extremely proud to be forming this new relationship with such an iconic rugby brand. We are looking forward to working together to provide ongoing support to our members for years to come."

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.