Tue 5th July 16 :

Saracens Team-up with BLK

Aviva Premiership and European Rugby Champions Cup winners Saracens are proud to announce a multi-million pound deal with BLK United Kingdom to provide on and off field playing and training kit.
The 'Men in Black' have agreed a five year partnership with BLK that covers Saracens, Saracens Women and all nine members of the Saracens Global Network.

The BLK product range has been developed to fulfil the needs of the modern athlete and supporter, from technical training, match day equipment and apparel to a superior lifestyle and supporter range. The emphasis is on design excellence, performance, durability and innovation.

Nearly 10,000 teams globally now wear BLK, including national sides such as the New Zealand Kiwis, French side Stade Toulousain, Fiji and USA Rugby as well as a myriad of marquee clubs. BLK United Kingdom has ambitious plans to work with high-profile teams across a range of sports and to launch a bespoke range of non-licenced sports fashion wear.

Ben Houchen, chief executive officer of BLK United Kingdom, said: "Saracens is one of the most high profile names in rugby union and after a stunning season we are delighted to be able to announce this partnership and welcome them into the BLK family alongside Welsh region Ospreys, England Rugby League, Scotland Rugby League and England Netball.

"BLK is one of the fastest growing sports apparel brands and this partnership is a clear demonstration of our ambition to be the biggest, we believe we are already the best.

"The new Saracens shirt will be unveiled at Saracens Summer Gathering at Allianz Park on Saturday 23rd July and we are certain that fans of the Men in Black will be as delighted by it as the players and staff are."

Andy Duckworth, chief commercial & marketing officer from Saracens said: 'We are thrilled to be working with BLK and to have a partner that is as keen as we are to develop some exciting and innovative on field and off field product.

"BLK is as forward-thinking and ambitious as Saracens and together we make a winning team."

Land Rover has today announced its renewal as Principal Partner of The British & Irish Lions tour to New Zealand 2017. The renewal will see Land Rover resume its support of The Lions for a sixth time. Land Rover's support stretches back to the South Africa 1997 tour, a previous tour of New Zealand in 2005 and the victorious Australia 2013 tour.

In its role as Principal Partner as well as Official Vehicle of The British & Irish Lions tour to New Zealand 2017, Land Rover will provide vehicles to help support operational needs of The Lions, not just on tour but in the UK and Ireland. With the unique demands of a Lions tour, Land Rover's role will be a pivotal one, helping meet the specific requirements set by the touring rugby team.

Through its partnership with such an iconic rugby institution, Land Rover is adding to its proud heritage in supporting rugby at all levels; from grassroots to the elite. This support has extended to two Rugby World Cup tournaments in 2011 and 2015 as Official Sponsor and a Worldwide Partner respectively, Official Vehicle of Premiership Rugby, Main Club Partner of English Premiership Rugby side Wasps and Title Sponsor of its UK grassroots rugby programme, the Land Rover Premiership Rugby Cup, which has been engaging the next generation of rugby players for nearly a decade.

Mark Cameron, Jaguar Land Rover Experiential Marketing Director, said: "Land Rover has been at the heart of rugby, from the grassroots to the elite, for over two decades. We share the same passion, resolve and integrity that sits within the core of the game. It is therefore fitting that Land Rover sponsor The British & Irish Lions for a sixth time. The Lions is a prestigious team with a renowned history that any player would want to be part of. Through its heritage in rugby, Land Rover has been part of The Lions team and is part of its history. Previous tours have shown the special nature of The Lions and The British & Irish Lions tour to New Zealand 2017 promises to be no different."


The British & Irish Lions Chief Operating Officer Charlie McEwen said: "We are delighted to have renewed our long-standing relationship with one of the UK's most iconic brands. Land Rover has a rich history of supporting rugby and in particular The Lions. By its very nature, a Lions tour needs the support of partners who can meet the challenges posed. As such, Land Rover's experience is going to be invaluable. We are looking forward to building on the success of our relationship to ensure that the 2017 British & Irish Lions thrive in the best possible environment."

The Irish Rugby Football Union and Vodafone Ireland today announced a new four-year sponsorship of the Ireland rugby team.

The agreement, which commences on June 1 ahead of the summer tour to South Africa, will also see Ireland's leading total communications provider become official telecoms partner to the IRFU.

The new Canterbury-manufactured Ireland jersey was revealed at the Aviva Stadium today and will be worn by the team in South Africa for the first time.

Over the coming four years, Vodafone will use both new and existing technology to create events, activations and content that will benefit all rugby fans and Vodafone customers in Ireland. Vodafone's investment will allow fans to experience world class network services on match days.

Speaking at the sponsorship announcement, Vodafone Ireland CEO Anne O'Leary said: "We at Vodafone Ireland are very proud to partner with the IRFU for what promises to be an extremely exciting sponsorship. This four-year partnership with the IRFU will take us up to and beyond the 2019 Rugby World Cup in Japan.

"Irish rugby has built something very special. There is a bond there between the players, individually and as a group, and the supporters from the four corners of Ireland and beyond which epitomises the very essence of sport.

"Supporting the Irish rugby team brings the whole country together and this mirrors exactly what our business does in connecting people around Ireland and further afield.

"Our aim is to bring supporters even closer to Irish rugby and we have innovative plans to do this on match days and right throughout the season. We will have live mobile match highlights for Vodafone customers, exciting priority ticketing for the GUINNESS Series and a jersey amnesty initiative, to name just some of our plans."

Philip Browne, IRFU Chief Executive, commented: "We are delighted to be welcoming Vodafone to Irish Rugby's family of sponsors.

"They are a leading global technology brand with a proven track record in sponsorship. We look forward to working closely with the Vodafone team and helping them realise their ambitious strategies to enhance the fan experience."

Chris Stephenson, CEO at Canterbury of New Zealand, added: "The new Ireland rugby jersey is packed with technology & features designed to meet the specific needs of the Irish rugby team and has been created in collaboration between the IRFU team management, the squad and Canterbury's Innovation department.

"On the field this jersey will enable the team to perform without compromise or distraction and off the field it will unite supporters from all four provinces."

Bill Beaumont and Agustín Pichot have been elected World Rugby Chairman and Vice-Chairman, respectively, on an historic day for the international federation in Dublin.

The pair, who stood unopposed, were unanimously voted in by members of World Rugby's Council in accordance with the bye-laws at its annual meeting. Both World Rugby Hall of Fame inductees, the pair will succeed Chairman Bernard Lapasset and Vice-Chairman Oregan Hoskins, who previously announced they would not seek re-election.

The election comes on an historic day that ushered in the implementation of expanded union and regional association representation on Council and the appointment of two independent directors to the federation's Executive Committee.

RFU and Six Nations Rugby chairman Beaumont, has also been central to World Rugby's decision-making bodies for more than a decade, served as Vice-Chairman from 2007 to 2012, and has been a key figure on the World Rugby Council, Executive Committee, Rugby World Cup Board and Rugby Committee bodies. As RFU chairman, Beaumont presided over the delivery of what will be remembered as the biggest and best Rugby World Cup to date.

He was also a decorated player, making his debut for England in 1975 going on to win 34 caps and leading England to their first Grand Slam for 33 years in 1980. Beaumont also played for the British and Irish Lions and later accompanied them as tour manager for the tour to New Zealand in 2005.

Beaumont said: "I am honoured to accept the mandate of Council to serve as World Rugby chairman at what is an exciting and pivotal time for the sport. Rugby has experienced significant and rapid growth, which is a credit to Bernard Lapasset and his leadership over the past eight years.

"The sport is in excellent health and over the next four years there will be many great opportunities to further develop and grow the game. However, we cannot be complacent. The game still faces challenges and my manifesto outlines the five priorities focused on addressing these. These priorities are continuing to protect players, preserving integrity, enhancing global competition, optimising partnerships and empowering and strengthening unions.

"I will nurture the roots of rugby, our fundamental values and financial security and will make rugby decisions for rugby reasons. As World Rugby Chairman, I will work with unions over the next four years to deliver healthy, sustainable growth for the game we all love."

With rugby experiencing unprecedented growth in new and emerging markets, Pichot's election represents the first time that an Argentinian has served as Vice-Chairman and is a significant and proud moment for rugby in South America.

As President of Rugby Americas, a former captain of Argentina's 15s (71 caps between 1995 and 2007, 28 as captain) and sevens teams and bronze medal winner at Rugby World Cup 2007, Pichot has been a driving force behind the rugby development of Argentina and South America on and off the field. Achievements include The Rugby Championship inclusion, Americas Rugby Championship establishment and the introduction of an Argentinian team in Super Rugby.

Pichot said: "I am honoured and excited to have been elected Vice-Chairman at what is an extremely exciting time for the growth and development of rugby and I would like to thank my Council colleagues and friends for their support and confidence.

"I look forward to working alongside Bill, with the support of the new-look Council and EXCO to serve rugby at all levels, promote inclusivity and equality and ensure that our great sport can continue its record growth into new and emerging rugby nations around the world."

Outgoing Chairman Lapasset added: "Rugby is in great shape around the world and I am proud that I vacate the position after eight wonderful years, during which we have achieved record participation, increased interest and engagement, Olympic inclusion and record-breaking Rugby World Cups.

"I leave with a dynamic new governance model implemented and I am delighted that my colleague and friend, Bill Beaumont, with a clear vision and strong passion for the global development of rugby, will drive the game into this exciting period. The future is very bright for our sport with the Rio 2016 and Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games and a ground-breaking Rugby World Cup in Japan all major milestones before the end of this decade.

"I would like to thank all my colleagues on Council, EXCO, the unions, the World Rugby executive and of course all members of the global rugby family, including players and fans, for their passion, dedication and support during my time as Chairman. It has been an incredible journey."

Bath Rugby is delighted to announce the renewal of its long-standing partnership with Thatchers Cider.

Like Bath Rugby, the fourth-generation cider makers are part of Somerset's much loved heritage. Thatchers are ingrained in the Club's matchday experience, and the renewed partnership will see an increase in the brand's presence at the Recreation Ground – one that already includes the Thatchers Stand – whilst the logo will continue to be emblazoned on the back of the match jerseys.

Commenting on the partnership, Tarquin McDonald, Managing Director of Bath Rugby, said: "Our relationship with Thatchers is one that we're very proud of, so we are thrilled to be continuing our association with them. Thatchers play a significant role in the Club and nowhere is that more evident than at the Rec on matchday, where many of our supporters love watching the rugby with a great pint of cider."

Martin Thatcher, fourth-generation cidermaker and Managing Director of the family-run company, added: "Being a supporter and partner of Bath Rugby is a privilege. We share similar values and have made many good friends within the Club. We are delighted to be continuing our partnership into next season."

Thatchers will be hosting a special matchday sampling of their new cloudy cider Thatchers Haze on the outfield at the Rec on Saturday 7th May, as Bath take on Leicester Tigers in their final game of the season.

Image: Exeter Rugby Club/Pinnac;le Photo Agency. 

Exeter Chiefs and Samurai Sportswear are predicting a bright future ahead after today agreeing a new long-term contract.

The five-year deal will see the Norfolk-based sportswear manufacturer continue to supply the Aviva Premiership club with its innovative range of playing kit and off-field leisurewear, as well as providing an extensive range of kit and clothing for the club's support base.

The partnership, which was first signed in 2010 before the Chiefs were promoted into English rugby's top flight, is the joint longest of its type in the Premiership, with both parties sustaining growth and considerable success in the years that have followed.

Founded in 1996 by current Managing Director, Terry Sands, Samurai is renowned for producing custom made rugby kits, including its advanced ICONIX shirt created using an exclusive 4D Performex fabric to offer the ultimate levels of comfort and performance.

Liaising closely with Chiefs players and staff, work has already commenced on the design of new match and training kit for the 2016/17 season, all of which will be available ahead of next season's Premiership and European campaigns.

Welcoming the new deal, Exeter Rugby Club chief executive, Tony Rowe OBE, said: "As a club we're very happy to be continuing our working relationship with Samurai, who have been with us ever since we broke into the Premiership and Europe and have joined in our success of recent years.

"Making sure we provide our players with the best kit the market can offer is important to ensure they can maximise their performance on the pitch and continue to help build the Exeter Chiefs brand off it.

"The last six years has been an incredible success story for the club and for Samurai and we will both continue to work hard to ensure the future is just as prosperous."

It's a view echoed by Terry Sands, who added: "We are honoured that Exeter Chiefs have chosen to extend their partnership with us. We have a great working relationship with everyone at the club and they continue to set the standards for other clubs to aspire to.

"The Chiefs are an established Premiership club with a burning ambition to be continual top four contenders and a real force in Europe. The club's focus on development makes them the perfect fit for the Samurai brand and we look forward to seeing our logo on their kits for many years."

 

The Rugby Football Union (RFU) has announced a partnership with Mitsubishi Motors, who will become an Official Partner of England Rugby from the start of the 2016/17 season.

The long-term relationship will see the Mitsubishi Motors logo feature on the front of next season's England U18 and U20 playing and training kits.

Mitsubishi Motors to become Title Partner of Exeter leg of the Rugby Europe Sevens Grand Prix Series

The agreement will also extend to Title Partnership of the Exeter leg of the Rugby Europe Sevens Grand Prix Series, taking place at Sandy Park in July 2016, which will become the Mitsubishi Motors Exeter Sevens. The Rugby Europe Sevens Grand Prix Series 2016 is a three leg Series comprising Tournaments in Moscow and Gdynia, after which the winning team will be crowned European Champions. For 2016 only, England and Wales will be replaced by two teams from Great Britain who will use the Series as part of their final preparations for the Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro.

Commenting on the partnership, RFU Chief Executive, Ian Ritchie, said: "We are thrilled to confirm Mitsubishi Motors as an Official Partner of the RFU.

"As a globally recognised brand with strong heritage in innovation and high quality performance, Mitsubishi Motors is a great fit for the RFU.

"We look forward to the exciting initiatives that we will work on together throughout the partnership."

Lance Bradley, Managing Director, Mitsubishi Motors UK, added:

"Mitsubishi Motors is delighted to become an Official Partner for the Rugby Football Union from September 2016, supporting the England under 18s, the under 20s squad and the Mitsubishi Motors Exeter Sevens.

"It's not only great news for us, but for our dealer network, our customers, and all rugby followers. The ethos and values of the game align perfectly with our own and the partnership announcement comes as a natural development of the work we are doing, and have already done to support some of the UK's leading rugby clubs and players."

Thu 31st March 16 :

BLK fit for four more years

The world #1 NZ Kiwis will wear BLK jerseys into next year's Rugby League World Cup campaign and beyond.

New Zealand Rugby League has confirmed a renewed four-year contract with the global sports apparel company that ends on December 31, 2019. The agreement will also cover the Kiwi Ferns women and Junior Kiwis programme. The Kiwis men have worn the BLK (Beyond Limits Known) brand since 2012.

"We're proud to continue our sponsorship of the world's top-ranked New Zealand national rugby league team," says BLK chief executive Tyron Brant.

"The Kiwis have a very clear strategy on how they want to lift their profile and BLK is excited to be part of that
journey."

In recent years, BLK and NZRL have produced an exciting range of merchandise for Kiwis fans around the world, and 2016 will be no different.

The latest offerings will be officially launched next month, as the Kiwis prepare to defend the Bill Kelly Cup and world #1 billing against Australia in Newcastle, May 6.

"Their unique team culture makes our Kiwis one of the iconic brands in New Zealand sport," says NZRL commercial general manager Sarah Lewis.

"BLK has certainly helped us extend that design footprint internationally by bringing our culture to life with its distinct and innovative garments.

"The World Cup offers a great opportunity to develop that identity even more. We're sure our passionate fans will find something in the next BLK release that will make it easy for them to show support for their team, whether that's by wearing a replica jersey at our games or our styled casual gear away from the stadium."

The British & Irish Lions and Thomas Pink have renewed their partnership for the 2017 Tour to New Zealand, it has been announced.

Thomas Pink – the Modern British shirtmaker – will once again provide the best players from the Home Nations with official outfits for the tour, including the iconic blazer and tie and the brand's game-changing Athletic Fit shirt.

For the 2017 Lions Tour retail collection, Thomas Pink will design a full range of formal and casual outfits. The range will ensure fans are as stylish as The British & Irish Lions themselves, offering a collection delivered with style and verve.

The Thomas Pink Lions collection will retail from October 2016.

To mark this, the brand will launch its very own tongue-in-cheek rugby club, captained by one of the all-time Lions' greats and incorporating consumer events, an online content hub and monthly newsletters.

The 2017 British & Irish Lions wardrobe features an official Tour blazer and evening jacket – "No. 1s and No.2s" in Lions' speak – as well as selection of casualwear for downtime between matches, training, travel and official functions.

Commenting on the renewed partnership, British & Irish Lions Chief Operating Officer Charlie McEwen said: "We are delighted to be continuing our partnership with Thomas Pink. The 2013 squad were superbly dressed as befits the Lions and we have no doubt that the 2017 touring party will be equally well tailored in line with Thomas Pink's tradition of quality and workmanship."

Jonathan Heilbron, President and CEO of Thomas Pink said: "We are delighted to be involved with the British & Irish Lions once again. Our last collaboration was a huge success and we take great pride in dressing such outstanding rugby players, while our new casual rugby range will ensure the fans are as stylish as the players.

"When our Lions' collection launches in October, fans will also be able to join Thomas Pink's own rugby club, captained by a Lions' legend."

Rugby Expo has today confirmed its renewed partnership with the Association of Rugby Agents (ARA) and Agents Review Board (ARB), which will see the Home Unions Agents Annual Seminar held at the event for the third year running.

Today's announcement also confirms the ongoing support to Rugby Expo from the RFU who, alongside the WRU, IRFU, RPA, IRUPA, Premiership Rugby and English Championship, work in partnership with the ARA to deliver the seminar. Continuing the longstanding partnership with Rugby Expo, the RFU will work closely with the event for 2016 ahead of its debut at the Ricoh Arena on 03-04 November.

The Annual Seminar, which brings together all registered agents and wider stakeholders responsible for the management and wellbeing of professional rugby players, will take place on the morning of the professional game-focused day one of Rugby Expo (03 November); all attendees will then be given full access to both days of the event.

Commenting on today's announcement, Jonathan Wilson, Rugby Expo event director, said: "We are delighted to renew our partnership with the ARA; the annual seminar is a key date in the organisation's calendar and is attended by all registered agents and board members as well as other rugby stakeholders.

"It is the third year that Rugby Expo will have all registered players' agents in attendance and the ARB's decision to move its seminar to the Ricoh Arena demonstrates the strength and value of the partnership. The opportunity for our event's exhibitors and delegates to meet and engage with the individuals and companies that work closely with the sport's professionals is another reason why Rugby Expo maintains its position as the meeting place for those in the sport of club rugby."

Rob Andrew MBE, professional rugby director at the RFU, said: "This will be the third year that we have hosted the Agents Seminar at Rugby Expo and the move to the Ricoh Arena provides us with a great opportunity to deliver the event at another fantastic venue, and one that is so easily accessible for our members and stakeholders.

"The Agents Seminar continues to provide an ideal platform for bringing together agents, clubs, home unions and stakeholders in a forum designed to focus on the business and development of rugby; education, communication and awareness of important issues is the key to the success of our sport and the presence of the Agents Seminar at Rugby Expo provides a great forum for facilitating this."

Mark Spoors, ARA chairman, added: "We have had fantastic feedback from our members following last year's Agents Seminar at Rugby Expo so it is great to be able to confirm our partnership again with the 2016 event. The Ricoh Arena is ideally-located in the centre of the country and a fantastic venue for us to invite our members and wider stakeholders to.

"Rugby Expo continues to provide our members with a wealth of information and contacts within rugby and the wider sports industry and it is a fantastic way for us to help to maximise their ARA membership further."

For more information on attending Rugby Expo, contact Jenny Forbes, head of business development, at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or on +44 (0) 843 289 0583. Alternatively click here to register your interest.