From Rugby School to All Schools, Gilbert and RFU extend their partnership

Date posted: 04/11/2013

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 were 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 which 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.

Gilbert balls used exclusively by England Rugby

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.

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 balls available. The Gilbert ball is widely regarded as the best there is and its reputation is second to none. Its consistent high quality means that 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.

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 said: 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.

Notes to editors: About the Rugby Football Union (RFU) The Rugby Football Union is the National Governing Body for rugby union in England and supports participants and fans from the grassroots to the national team. For more information visit www.rfu.com or @Official_RFU

About Gilbert: Gilbert have been making equipment for Rugby since the beginning of the game in 1823 and now, still based in England, are the Official Rugby Ball supplier to Rugby World Cup 2015 and to almost every major Rugby Union and competition worldwide.
More info on www.gilbertrugby.com and @gilbert_rugby