According to legend, the sport of rugby was born in 1823 when schoolboy William Webb Ellis, with a fine disregard for the rules of football, took the ball in his arms and ran with it. The ball in question was a Gilbert one - made by William Gilbert - and the name has been synonymous with the game ever since.
For 200-years, generations of rugby players of all ages and skill level, have relied on the quality and precision of Gilbert rugby balls. Now this unbroken heritage extends to a market leading range of rugby products built specifically for use in rugby.
From William Webb Ellis and the origins of the game to the Rugby World Cup, Gilbert’s unique position remains undimmed after 200 years of excellence. Gilbert has been at the heart of rugby since 1823 – a time frame which has seen its products used by many players who have long since assumed legendary status.
About The Brand
Founded at the start of the 19th century by William Gilbert - one of a renowned family of Cordwainers (shoe makers) in Rugby, today is proud to supply the majority of the world’s major tournaments and nations. After the Gilbert family sold the business in 1978, the firm later came under the control of the Grays family in 2002 and expanded into netball. It is now based in Robertsbridge, England and remains a UK family owned business to this day.
From the international stage at Rugby World Cup to the heartbeat of the game on grassroots pitches across world rugby, we take great delight in serving and supporting rugby at all levels. We are proud to have supplied the balls to every Rugby World Cup since RWC 1995 and will again be at the centre of the pitch at RWC 2023 in France. In 2016, Gilbert was the ball chosen for rugby’s return to the Olympic Games, in Rio and for the latest edition in Tokyo 2020.
Following our proud success with balls, more recently we have developed an exciting and market leading clothing and training kit range – proudly used by the likes of Barbarian FC (clothing), England Rugby (equipment, balls), RFU match officials (clothing) and a host of community clubs and schools across the UK.
We also take great delight in supporting athletes in the game with the likes of Cheslin Kolbe, Gregory Alldritt, Tomas Francis, Gabin Villiere, Francois Cros, Claudia Macdonald and Sadia Kabeya all choosing to use Gilbert products at the highest echelons of the game.
Built on the values of - Trust. Teamwork. Inclusivity. Performance and Passion, Gilbert is at the heart of the game with the famous Gilbert rugby ball at the centre of rugby matches across the World.
Today our mission is to inspire the rugby community through market leading products, partnerships and content.
Part of the Rugby Family
Gilbert is proud to be part of the rugby family.
We’ve been there for some of rugby’s greatest moments.
‘That Try’ from the Barbarians in 1973.
“Kirkpatrick to Williams. This is great stuff. Phil Bennett covering, chased by Alistair Scown. Brilliant! Oh, that’s brilliant! John Williams, Pullin, John Dawes. Great dummy! David, Tom David, the half-way line. Brilliant by Quinnell. This is Gareth Edwards. A dramatic start. What a score!” [Cliff Morgan]
England’s last minute victory at Rugby World Cup 2003.
“This is the one, it’s coming back for Jonny Wilkinson...”
“He drops for World Cup glory...” [Ian Robertson]
The Springboks iconic 1995 Rugby World Cup victory on home soil, with Nelson Mandela and a nation watching. The start of Gilbert's relationship with RWC...
Japan shocks the world at RWC 2015…
The journey our kit takes to Barbarian FC.