The NRL Auckland Nines event received a huge boost today with leading engineering and infrastructure group Downer taking over as the 2016 Nines naming rights sponsor.

Duco Events said the new partnership would go a long way to ensuring next month's event is a major success.

Downer agreed to take over the top sponsorship role following the end of Duco's partnership with electronics retailer, Dick Smith.

The multi-award winning tournament will now be known as the Downer NRL Auckland Nines and will be played on February 6 and 7 at Eden Park.

Downer has a long history in both Australia and New Zealand, dating back more than a century, and is now a Top-100 company on the Australian Securities Exchange.

Downer provides comprehensive services to customers in markets including transport, rail, mining, utilities, technology and communications, and engineering, construction and maintenance. Downer employs about 20,000 people and operates primarily in Australia and New Zealand but also in the Asia-Pacific region, South America and Southern Africa.

Martin Snedden Duco Events Chief Executive, in announcing the sponsorship agreement, said: "It is tremendous to be in a position today to announce Downer as the 2016 Nines naming rights sponsor.

"Being a highly respected and successful business throughout both Australia and New Zealand, they are a great fit with the Nines."

NRL Chief Commercial Officer, Michael Brown said the Downer sponsorship was a boost for the Nines on the eve of the 2016 tournament.

"The Nines has already become a great way to kick off the Rugby League season so it is important to have a prestigious naming rights sponsor," he said.

"We are delighted that a company with a brand like Downer has come on board at short notice. It is a real vote of confidence in the Nines."

Published in Tournaments