Gilbert converts RFU extension

English rugby union’s governing body the Rugby Football Union has extended its partnership with rugby equipment manufacturer Gilbert by a further seven years.

Gilbert will expand its support of rugby in England as the official and exclusive ball supplier of England rugby, equipping all levels of RFU competitions and its All Schools initiative.

All Schools is designed to help more secondary state schools in England play rugby and is a key part of the RFU’s legacy plans as it prepares to host the 2015 Rugby World Cup. Gilbert will provide balls to participating schools, with a target of 750 institutions to be aimed for by 2019.

Gilbert will enjoy access to England’s representative squads for product testing and development of its balls.

Additionally, under the wide-ranging deal, Gilbert is the official supplier to the Championship – English rugby’s second tier – and will provide training and match balls to the league, while also supplying balls for all fixtures at Twickenham and acting as the official clothing supplier for all referees from the Premiership to National League Two.

The RFU’s Community Rugby Coaches programme and members of the England Rugby Supporters Club will also benefit from access to Gilbert products.