EPCR has chosen GILBERT as the official and exclusive match ball supplier to the inaugural European Rugby Champions Cup and European Rugby Challenge Cup tournaments.
The partnership with the newly-constituted tournament organiser of European professional club rugby will run until the end of the 2016/17 season.
Paul McNaughton, EPCR Board Director and Executive Committee member, said: "We are delighted that GILBERT are coming on board as an official EPCR partner and equally delighted that the inaugural European Rugby Champions Cup and Challenge Cup tournaments will be using a ball which is widely recognised as a standard-setter for the world game.
"GILBERT is the preferred choice of players throughout Europe and is therefore a natural partner for EPCR's new tournaments. We are looking forward to a long and successful partnership as we work to continue the growth of European professional club rugby.”
Richard Gray, GILBERT Sales and Marketing Director, said: "Everyone at GILBERT is delighted that we have been selected as the official ball of the European Rugby Champions and Challenge Cup competitions, and we are tremendously excited to be involved at the start of this new chapter in European professional club rugby. We look forward to working together with EPCR and its stakeholders to ensure we all maximise the mutual benefits from the partnership.
"Both European tournaments will be played with GILBERT'S new MATCH XV ball. A modern classic, the MATCH XV is the result of an extensive two-year development process which has delivered a new surface compound that enhances grip, without compromising subtlety or durability. The surface design has also been improved to enable quicker water dispersion. This is the most-tested GILBERT ball in history and we are confident that players will enjoy the ball's unique benefits during the European season and in the lead-up to Rugby World Cup in 2015.”
GILBERT supply match balls to the majority of the world's top competitions and nations including: Rugby World Cup 2015, Aviva Premiership, Top 14, Super Rugby, Argentina, Australia, England, France, Ireland, Scotland, South Africa and Wales.
The GILBERT balls will be used for the first time in the new European competitions starting with the European Rugby Challenge Cup opener on Thursday, 16 October when Gloucester Rugby welcome Brive to Kingsholm Stadium. The European Rugby Champions Cup will get under way the following day with the clash of Harlequins and Castres Olympique at the Twickenham Stoop.
Pool stage weekends
Round 1: 16/17/18/19 October 2014
Round 2: 23/24/25/26 October 2014
Round 3: 4/5/6/7 December 2014
Round 4: 11/12/13/14 December 2014
Round 5: 15/16/17/18 January 2015
Round 6: 22/23/24/25 January 2015
Knockout stage weekends
Quarter-finals: 3/4/5 April 2015
Semi-finals: 17/18/19 April 2015
LONDON 2015 FINALS
European Rugby Challenge Cup – Twickenham Stoop; Friday, 1 May 2015 (19.45)
European Rugby Champions Cup – Twickenham Stadium; Saturday, 2 May 2015 (17.00)