- Gilbert Rugby set to equip all levels of the game and RFU competitions
- Now one of the RFU's longest serving suppliers
Photo: Getty Images
The Rugby Football Union (RFU) has extended its partnership with Gilbert Rugby for another seven years. Expanding its breadth of support for the game, the Official and Exclusive Ball Supplier of England Rugby will equip all levels and RFU competitions including All Schools.
Whilst now being one of the RFU’s longest serving suppliers, Gilbert was already supplying balls to Rugby School when William Webb Ellis picked up the ball and ran with it in 1823 and today they become an Official Supplier to All Schools, the RFU’s programme that helps more secondary state school children play rugby and forms a key pillar in its legacy plans for Rugby World Cup 2015.
Since All Schools was launched in 2012, over 200 schools have been involved in the programme and the aim is for 750 new state secondary schools to participate by 2019. Gilbert will be providing a package of balls and equipment to each school, as well as support to help to maximise their rugby development.
As the world’s leading rugby ball, Gilbert Rugby balls will continue to be used by players at all levels of the game, from those starting their rugby journey at All Schools to members of the England team. Access to the representative squads will be facilitated for product testing and development, ensuring that the highest standard of ball remains available.
England Attacking Skills Coach Mike Catt said: “With something as critical as the ball, it’s crucial to the coaches and players that we have the best available. The Gilbert ball is widely regarded as the best there is and its reputation is second to none. Its consistent high quality means we are delighted that the partnership continues.”
As an Official Supplier to the Greene King IPA Championship, Gilbert will provide training and match balls to the league. All RFU competitions and fixtures at Twickenham will use a Gilbert ball and they will remain the Official Clothing Supplier for referees officiating from the Aviva Premiership to SSE National League Two.
The partnership brings benefits for local rugby clubs as an allocation of balls will remain available for the RFU’s Community Rugby Coaches who assist clubs, schools colleges and universities in developing players and growing the game.
In an all-encompassing partnership, the England Rugby Supporters Club will also have access to Gilbert balls to reward and thank members through competitions and prizes.
Sophie Goldschmidt, Chief Commercial Officer, RFU, said: “Our relationship with Gilbert is a great example of how we now work with our partners across all levels of the game. Gilbert understands the invaluable opportunity that comes with hosting the Rugby World Cup to leave a lasting legacy and All Schools is a key pillar within our plans to deliver this. We are excited about Gilbert’s support for the programme and what we can achieve with them over the next seven years.”
Richard Gray, Sales and Marketing Director of Gilbert Rugby added: “Everyone at Gilbert is delighted that we are continuing our relationship with the RFU, which is our longest association in rugby. The hosting of the Rugby World Cup in England adds an extra dimension and impetus to our partnership and we are particularly excited by our increased investment in the RFU’s grassroots initiatives to leave a lasting legacy. We are also delighted to support the RFU Referees and look forward to seeing the exposure this will give to our expanding officials’ Teamwear offering.”