Rugby union’s British and Irish Lions have unveiled a new official partner for their tour of South Africa this year, in the shape of the prominent Spanish bank Santander International.

The bank will serve as the official partner to the touring team and to this year’s Castle Lager Lions Series in South Africa.

The Lions are due to play a pre-tour test against Japan in Edinburgh on 26 June before heading to South Africa for eight matches, including three tests against the national team, the Springboks, in July and August.

Under the agreement, Santander will receive a range of commercial rights including branding, and have access to the Lions touring squad and coaches in training at their pre-tour camp.

Santander will also be awarded digital and social media rights throughout the tour of South Africa.

Santander join Canterbury, Vodafone, DHL, T.M. Lewin, London Pride and Royal London among others as partners to the Lions.

Tom Halsey, commercial director for the British and Irish Lions, said: “We are very pleased to welcome Santander International to our family of commercial partners. Santander International is already a major supporter of rugby in the Crown Dependencies and we look forward to working together to deliver an innovative and engaging programme that will allow the residents of Jersey to engage with the Tour while it’s on island. We are very grateful that businesses like Santander International recognise the positive social and economic impact sport can make around the world.”  

Santander has already entered the rugby world, sponsoring English second-tier club Jersey Reds and Douglas Rugby Club on the Isle of Man.