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WRU pen new £33m Under Armour deal

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WRU chairman Gareth Davies: With Under Armour CEO and founder Kevin Plank

WRU chairman Gareth Davies: With Under Armour CEO and founder Kevin Plank

PERFORMANCE apparel and footwear innovator Under Armour today announced a nineyear partnership extension with the Welsh Rugby Union thought to be worth £33m.

The deal is the longest on record for a Wales kit supplier, cementing a 17-year partnership that will see the brand maximise the national team’s sports performance through to 2025, and reinforces Under Armour’s commitment to making athletes better around the globe.

The global sports brand’s presence in rugby is rapidly expanding. Under Armour first emerged in the sport as Official Technical Partner of WRU in 2008, when the Wales national side became the first licensed rugby team to wear Under Armour’s technical apparel.

Under Armour has also reinforced its commitment to the WRU by becoming title sponsor of Welsh rugby’s autumn international series matches, for the next nine years.

The Under Armour Series 2016 – which will welcome Australia, Argentina, Japan and South Africa to Principality Stadium on consecutive Saturdays in November – will be the first to boast such a long term brand partnership.

The clash with Japan is the latest to be added to the 2016 Under Armour Series match schedule and they face Wales on Saturday 19th November, kick-off 2.30pm.

The Wallabies kick-start the Series on Saturday 5th November (2.30pm) and the Pumas visit Cardiff on Saturday 12th November (5.30pm), with the Springboks completing a quartet of top quality opposition for Wales on Saturday 26th November (5.30pm).

“The Under Armour Series will be about testing ourselves against the best sides in the world, and with Japan now completing the fixture line-up for 2016, we have four teams from World Rugby’s top ten coming to the Principality Stadium in November,” said Wales head coach Warren Gatland.

“Under Armour’s support for Wales has been unerring in every aspect since they came on board in 2008 and it is great news for Welsh rugby that they will be working with us until 2025.”

The long-lasting partnership will also provide WRU with access to Under Armour’s Connected Fitness platform, which will ensure that all athletes will benefit from health, fitness, and training data to improve their performance.

Since the partnership began in 2008, Wales have won the RBS 6 Nations Championship three times, including two Grand Slams and have continued to impress on the international stage.

Kevin Plank, Under Armour Founder and CEO, said: “We have always identified with the WRU’s relentless and determined attitude, which align with our core values at Under Armour. I’m proud to form a long-term partnership with the WRU and look forward to seeing our innovative performance gear produce world-class results on the pitch.”

In addition to match day kits, Under Armour will provide performance training apparel to the WRU first team, age grade squads, Sevens and Women’s teams – all of which will feature Under Armour signature technologies, enabling peak performance in all weather conditions. This includes sweatwicking HeatGear fabric to help keep players cool and dry, and ArmourGrid technology for light, durable strength.

Martyn Phillips, WRU CEO, said: “Welsh rugby’s partnership with Under Armour is a key foundation for our future plans and upholding the legacy of our national sport. We have much in common, in that we are both ‘challenger brands’ who have a tendency to ‘punch above our weight’. The positive impact of this partnership, which also sees Under Armour take on the role of series sponsor for our autumn matches for nine years, will reach new heights on a global scale. I’m excited about the future, the potential for both brands and the opportunity to deliver on higher ambitions.”

Gareth Davies, WRU Chairman said: “With the new partnership extension, Under Armour will become one of the WRU’s longest serving commercial partners, supporting Welsh rugby through three decades. Their support and dedication to our national side has been unwavering, reflecting some great successes for us on the field.”

Under Armour performance training apparel and footwear are currently worn by all Under Armour rugby athletes, including international players Leigh Halfpenny, Jamie Roberts, Jordi Murphy, Drew Mitchell, Jamie Cudmore, James Haskell, Taulupe Faletau and Dan Lydiate.

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Sport

Signed Wales shirts gifted to RNLI go up for auction

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FOLLOWING a winning start to the Six Nations Tournament, the Welsh Rugby Union (WRU) have scored a winning try for the RNLI, gifting six signed rugby shirts to help save lives at sea.

Each rugby shirt has been signed by the full WRU squad and are accompanied by a certificate of authentication – a winning prize for any Welsh rugby fan.

To avoid a ruck for the WRU shirts the charity has placed all six signed shirts on an online auction, ensuring a fair game for all who wish to win the golden prize. The auction will be live until Wednesday, March 31, which allows plenty of time for supporters to bid for the team in red.

Each signed shirt includes Wales Captain, Mumbles RNLI supporter and the most capped international player of all time Alun Wyn Jones; as well as Louis Rees-Zammit, the Man of the Match in the nail-biting Scotland v Wales game.

Nick Evans, RNLI Fundraising and Partnership Lead said: ‘On behalf of the charity I would like to say a big thank you to the Welsh Rugby Union for donating these fantastic prizes to the RNLI. RNLI volunteers are on call 24-7 and are often called away from important events such as family celebrations – or international rugby tournaments – to respond to the pager if someone is in trouble at sea.

‘Like all charities, 2020 was a challenging year for the RNLI when all traditional fundraising had to stop – all our shops were closed, there were no collections and all events had to be cancelled. This is why we at the RNLI are so grateful to all the team at WRU for their ongoing support. The auction is now live and we would like to encourage all Wales rugby supporters to throw the RNLI a lifeline and place their bid for the winning prize.’

To place a bid or find out more about the charity auction please visit https://www.jumblebee.co.uk/rnliwru.

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Sport

Five subs to be allowed for JD Cymru Premier clubs

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THE FAW’s National Leagues Board has confirmed that JD Cymru Premier clubs will be permitted to make five substitutions in matches, in accordance with the Laws of the Game, until the end of the 2020-21 top-flight season.

FIFA extended the use of the rule, which was first introduced following the COVID-19 outbreak, citing “player welfare” as part of the reason for the temporary amendment to Law 3 of the Laws of the Game.

FIFA stated that “Some competitions which resumed in 2020 may have a shorter-than-usual recovery/preparation period before the start of their next season.”

“For many competitions, the 2020/21 season will involve matches being played in a condensed period due to a delayed start and the inability to end later than usual because of major international tournaments.”

With the JD Cymru Premier set to restart on March 2, the National Leagues Board has approved the use of the rule in the JD Cymru Premier until the end of the current campaign.

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Haverfordwest County’s remaining phase 1 fixtures released

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HAVERFORDWEST County will return to action on Saturday, March 6, with a home game against Cardiff Met University.

The JD Cymru Premier has been granted elite status by the National Sports Group once again and the FAW has announced the rescheduled fixtures.

The first fixture upon the return will see Newtown AFC host Penybont on Tuesday, March 2, 2021 live on Facebook via Sgorio’s platforms.

Bala Town travel to The New Saints on Sgorio on March 6, 2021 with a 5pm kick off.

This will be followed by a full host of fixtures on Saturday, March 6, 2021.

The new calendar sees clubs play their final six matches of Phase One, which is now due to be completed on April 4, 2021.

Haverfordwest County’s remaining fixtures for phase 1 are listed below.

March 6 – 14:30

Haverfordwest County FC v Cardiff Met University FC

March 9 – 19:45

Aberystwyth Town FC v Haverfordwest County FC

March 13 – 14:30

Haverfordwest County FC v The New Saints FC

March 20 – 14:30

Connah’s Quay Nomads FC v Haverfordwest County FC

March 27 – 14:30

Newtown AFC v Haverfordwest County FC

April 2 – 17:00

Penybont FC v Haverfordwest County FC

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