PREMIERSHIP RUGBY can today confirm that the Gilbert rugby ball selected for next year's Rugby World Cup will make its debut in this season's Aviva Premiership Rugby competition.
The announcement comes as both Premiership Rugby and Gilbert also reveal they have signed a new six-year contract with Premiership Rugby, taking their partnership to the end of the 2019-20 season.
"Gilbert is the number one choice of ball supplier in Europe and the major rugby nations so it is only fitting that the MATCH XV ball they will use in the Rugby World Cup will be seen for the first time in Great Britain in Aviva Premiership Rugby," said Rugby Director at Premiership Rugby, Phil Winstanley.
"We set high standards for our partners at Premiership Rugby and we know this new ball comes with Gilbert's continual commitment to research and product design development to provide world-class rugby balls and equipment. We have signed our longest partner contract to date with them and I know our clubs will be delighted to be using Gilbert rugby balls for another six years.
"Gilbert are industry leaders who have put more than 180 years of rugby heritage into their new innovative Match XV ball. We are proud to extend our relationship with a world-famous brand that puts innovation and tradition at the heart of its business."
The MATCH XV will also be used in top level Test matches throughout the rest of 2014 and 2015, meaning the world's best players will have plenty of competition time using the ball.
Gilbert Sales and Marketing Director Richard Gray added: "A modern classic, the MATCH XV is the latest in a succession of balls stretching back to 1995 to be engineered for rugby's global showpiece tournament and is packed with innovation. It is also the most-tested Gilbert ball in history.
"With its strong features of tradition and innovation, we are confident the MATCH XV will soon be recognised as a modern classic."
An extensive two-year development process has delivered a new surface compound to enhance grip without compromising subtlety or durability. The surface design has also been improved to enable quicker water dispersion.
Notes to Editors:
About Gilbert Rugby:
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. Gilbert’s highly regarded product range now extends from balls to Clothing, boots, equipment and body armour.
More info on www.gilbertrugby.com and @gilbert_rugby