The Welsh Rugby Union is delighted to announce a new four year extension to its contract with kit manufacturers Reebok. The new deal will run through the next World Cup campaign in 2007 and up to 2008.

By the time the contract is due for renewal, the WRU and Reebok will have been commercial partners for 12 years and more than 100 international matches.

‘This is great news for Welsh rugby and further evidence of the growing commercial strength of our product. Reebok is one of the world’s great sports brand companies and we take it as a great compliment that they value their association with the WRU and the Welsh team so highly,’ said WRU Group Chief Executive David Moffett.

‘To be part of a sporting stable at Reebok that includes the likes of Liverpool FC, Manchester City, all the teams in the American National Football League (NFL) and, from August this year, all the teams in the American National Basketball Association (NBA) is quite a tribute.

‘You don’t get a place among a sporting cast like that unless you have something powerful to offer.

‘And that is exactly what Reebok have found in Welsh rugby – a sporting product that is backed by a passionate administration and even more passionate fans. This new deal will take us up to 2008 and will include two very significant landmarks along the way.

‘Firstly, the 125th anniversary season of the WRU in 2005/2006 and, secondly, the 2007 Rugby World Cup. Reebok have proved themselves to be great friends to, and wonderful commercial partners of, Welsh rugby and we look forward to four more years of mounting success on the field, and sales off it.’

Reebok first became involved with Welsh rugby in 1996 when they were involved in sponsoring the Dragons Trust ‘Play The Game’ initiative. Then, they became the official kit suppliers to the Wales team for their international against the Barbarians in August, 1996.

That was the first of 88 Test matches in which the Welsh team has been proud to wear the Reebok strip. In fact, the senior Welsh side has played in Reebok kit in 105 matches to date including tour and non-cap games.

‘Reebok is very proud to be able to announce this extension to its long standing relationship with the Welsh rugby Union. What will become at least a 12 year relationship represents one of the strongest partnerships in world rugby,’ said Reebok UK Managing Director Dave Singleton.

‘Reebok has sponsored Wales through good times, such as the record equalling 10 match winning sequence in 1999, and a few more difficult times. But we feel the current team is on the verge of a major breakthrough thanks in no small part to the good work of Steve Hansen and his coaching team.

‘Having finished the Rugby World Cup so strongly, the good work has been continued in this seasons RBS Six Nations Championship with both France and England just scraping through with victories. We all hope that Steve is given a winning send-off in Saturday’s Six Nations finale against Italy.

‘Reebok is also proud of its lengthy association with the Dragon’s Trust and we feel it is a vital role to help nurture the grass roots of the game in Wales. Once again, our deal is comprehensive in that it includes all of the Junior international sides, while at the professional end of the game no effort is spared in our attempt to give the National Team what they need with the most technically advanced kit available.’

Such has been the growth of Reebok’s Welsh rugby merchandise that they confidently expect to exceed sales of 1 Million units in the 12 year life span of the relationship.

Sales of replica Welsh rugby shirts account for almost 60% of all purchases and both Reebok and the WRU are hoping to grow that figure in the build-up to the 2007 Rugby World Cup, when four matches will be played at the Millennium Stadium.

For more information, please contact the Welsh Rugby Union on 020 2920 781720