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Pro12 drinks to Guinness backing

Irish beer brand Guinness has been unveiled as the new title sponsor of the Pro12 European club rugby union tournament.

Terms of the deal were not disclosed, but the agreement will see the competition renamed the Guinness Pro12 from the forthcoming 2014-15 season.

Guinness, which has a strong presence in rugby sponsorship and previously title sponsored the English Premiership, replaces financial services company RaboDirect, which in August 2013 announced that it would not renew its deal beyond the 2013-14 season. RaboDirect had held a three-year contract that started with the 2011-12 campaign.

John Feehan, chief executive of the Pro12, said: “We are delighted that Guinness, an international brand with a strong pedigree in rugby, will be our title sponsor and we are looking forward to working with Guinness in actively developing the profile and stature of our competition which boasts some of the biggest names in world rugby.”

The Pro12 includes clubs from Ireland, Scotland, Wales and Italy. Irish province Leinster is the reigning champion.