The new long-term agreement will see all teams from the Guinness PRO14 using the Gilbert MATCH-XV ball for every game in the Championship.
In addition, Gilbert will sponsor the coveted PRO14 Golden Boot honour which is awarded to the Championship’s most accurate goal-kicker at the end of the season.
A total of 295 international players appeared in the Guinness PRO14 during a thrilling 2016/17 season where a record 711 tries were scored. Now, by introducing the Gilbert rugby ball to the Championship, Dermot Rigley, Commercial & Marketing Director of PRO14 Rugby, believes that the attacking style of play can reach new levels.
In welcoming Gilbert back to the Championship, Rigley said: “The Gilbert ball is an icon of rugby with over 180 years of heritage and we believe it is the perfect fit for Guinness PRO14 where we have almost 300 international players competing in our Championship. Gilbert have been perfecting the rugby ball year on year and it is only right that the world-class talent in our Championship should use the best equipment available.
“We are immensely proud of the ambitious style of rugby that our teams produce and the proof of that is in Positive Play statistics produced in the 2016/17 season, which will only develop with the addition of the Toyota Cheetahs and Southern Kings from South Africa. Our Championship is stocked with world-class players and by putting a Gilbert ball in their hands we know we’re giving them an extra edge whether they’re kicking, passing or scoring tries.”
Richard Gray, Sales and Marketing Director of Gilbert Rugby is excited to renew the partnership with PRO14 Rugby: “We are delighted to resume our relationship with PRO14 and are excited by the opportunity not only to support such a forward-thinking organisation, as shown with its expansion into South Africa this year, but also to work closely with the iconic Guinness brand. We are proud that both the Championship and its players have chosen to endorse the unique performance of the Gilbert ball; a ball that is trusted by the global rugby family.”
In addition to its role as official match ball partner, Gilbert will also be responsible for all ball-related merchandise for the Championship while working with PRO14 Rugby to create new initiatives to promote the game.