Gilbert to supply balls for RWC 2011 and 2015
Rugby World Cup Limited (RWCL) has announced that Gilbert has been awarded the contract to supply balls to Rugby World Cup 2011 and Rugby World Cup 2015.
A world leader in match ball innovation and development in international Rugby for more than a century, the UK-based firm will supply the match, training and replica balls for Rugby's global showcase event.
"Gilbert is a brand that is synonymous with Rugby World Cup, having supplied balls for the tournament since 1995, and RWCL is delighted to be extending the relationship with a partner that has proven to be both a strong supporter of the tournament and the world leader in Rugby ball performance," said RWCL Chairman Bernard Lapasset.
"The tender process was extremely competitive. The decision to award the contract over two tournaments is an exciting prospect for both RWCL and Gilbert, enabling promotion of the RWC brand over the next six years through marketing activation and sales."
"The appointment of Gilbert as Official Match and Replica Ball Suppliers further underlines the global prestige and appeal of a tournament that is now the world's third largest sporting event," added Lapasset.
With a little under two years to go until the opening match of the 2011 tournament, Gilbert and RWCL have unveiled the design of the ball that will be used by the world's finest players across all 48 matches in New Zealand.
Retaining the distinct RWC brand colours of blue and green, the innovative ball will have a distinctly New Zealand feel and replicas will be available to purchase via the official Rugby World Cup 2011 online store and via leading Rugby retail outlets over the coming months.
"We believe the official branding for RWC 2011 is a vibrant connection between the tournament and the host country. The Look and Feel brings to life the New Zealand flavour of the tournament and this is perfectly reflected on the official ball design," added Lapasset.
Richard Gray, Gilbert Sales & Marketing Director, commented: "This decision is great news for Gilbert and underlines our commitment to Rugby since 1823. Gilbert has enjoyed a long and successful relationship with the International Rugby Board at every level since 1995 but the unprecedented awarding of this two-tournament contract is recognition of the work of the entire Gilbert team and a testament to the consistent quality and the outstanding performance of our products. We are all very proud of the achievement which truly cements our position as the world's premier Rugby ball manufacturer."
Andrew Challis, Gilbert Brand Manager, added: "Gilbert has repeatedly pushed the boundaries of match ball development and for RWC 2011, the official match ball will deliver another step forward in Rugby ball design and technology. In support of the commercial efforts of RWCL, we will be marketing the full range of RWC 2011 Rugby ball merchandise to every Rugby playing country of the world."
The Rugby World Cup 2011 Commercial Programme comprises Emirates Airline, MasterCard and Heineken as Worldwide Partners, LIM as Official Licensees, Russell McVeagh as the Official Law Firm and now Gilbert as Official Match and Replica Ball Suppliers.