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Leicester Tigers to rebrand Welford Road

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(Photo by David Rogers/Getty Images)

Leicester Tigers and long-standing official partner Mattioli Woods today announce a new five-year deal that will see the wealth management firm rebrand the stadium as Mattioli Woods Welford Road.

The move marks a first for the club – who have played in the same spot since moving to the ground back in 1892 – and is one that will play a huge role in supporting the future of the Leicester Tigers.

Mattioli Woods have been an official partner of the Tigers since 2016 supporting the club through shirt sponsorship and naming rights to the stadium’s East Stand.

The Covid-19 pandemic has the potential to see the club lose further millions in revenue over the coming months. The decision to rebrand the stadium is one that Tigers has not taken lightly owing to the significance Welford Road has in the hearts of supporters around the world.

Back in 2017, supporters and the club came together to celebrate 125 years of Welford Road, of which the north, east and west stand have all undergone major construction in the last twenty-five years taking capacity at the stadium to 25,849.

The decision to keep the ‘Welford Road’ name alongside the partnership is one that Mattioli Woods and the club felt was important, retaining the traditions of the club. This ‘club-first’ mentality echoes the shared values both organisations have in a move that can ensure Tigers remain at the heart of the city’s community.

The deal, which will run until the end of the 2024/25 season, includes stadium naming rights as well as branding around the team dugouts and externally around the venue. The company will also retain naming rights of the Mattioli Woods Stand as well as back of shirt sponsorship.

The two organisations became city centre neighbours in 2018 with Mattioli Woods moving its Leicester office to the top of Welford Road where they house 400 employees in the five-storey complex as part of the city’s regeneration project.

Over the years, the two businesses have worked together supporting the annual Rothley 10k run, organising stadium visits for schools, hosting networking events for local businesses as well as providing financial advice workshops.

A word from the CEOs…

As the club announced a historic moment with the rebrand of the home of Leicester Tigers to the Mattioli Woods Welford Road stadium, the chief executive officers of both organisations released the below statements.

Andrea Pinchen, chief executive officer at Leicester Tigers, said:

“Welford Road is an icon of world rugby as the home of Leicester Tigers and a venue that has helped to put Leicester on the sporting map.

“In these uncertain times, the club has had to look at new ways to provide value for supporters and partners in a way that can generate revenue and ensure that there is a club for fans to come back to.

“Mattioli Woods have been a partner of the club for many years, and whenever contractual rights are involved, we want to ensure that the traditions of the club remain a consideration.

“Having been such a loyal supporter of Tigers, we are extremely proud to unveil the Mattioli Woods Welford Road stadium signifying a partnership steeped in Leicester’s roots.

“Ian (Mattioli) is a close friend of the club and over the years, we’ve been grateful for his and the company’s support both financially as well as within the community.

“We understand it is a difficult time for every business at the moment, with sacrifices being made along the way, but the good times will return and I hope that this move symbolises the commitment of two Leicester businesses working through this together.”

Ian Mattioli, chief executive officer at Mattioli Woods said:

“Having been born and bred in Leicester, the Tigers have been a huge part of my life and I consider the club staff, players and supporters a part of the Mattioli Woods family.

“The COVID pandemic has impacted all of our lives, beyond anything we could have imagined. Personally, and as a business we have looked for ways to help the local communities where we have offices, supplying iPads to hospitals and other support where we can.

“Tigers have gone through tough times of late, as the majority of clubs have and so I am delighted that we are able to guarantee our support for the next five years. I am also proud the business I started in my garage in Leicester and employs so many local people both in Leicester and around the country, will be linked with this amazing club as Mattioli Woods Welford Road. Supporting our sporting clubs at this time is vital for our community.

“Sport breaks down barriers, it has the potential to reduce stress and improve mental wellbeing, and in these very testing times we are living in, it is important that families are still able to watch their beloved team and look forward to eventually being back in the stands.”

Rugby

Wales name side for Scotland

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Photo by John Berry/Getty Images

Wales travel to Murrayfield on a six-day turnaround following their opening round success against Ireland.
Wales have named the same front-five that featured last weekend with Wyn Jones, Ken Owens and Tomas Francis forming the front-row.

Adam Beard continues to partner captain Alun Wyn Jones in the second row.

Aaron Wainwright comes into the back row to line up alongside Justin Tipuric and Taulupe Faletau. Both Josh Navidi and Josh Macleod are unavailable due to injury, with the latter originally selected to earn his first cap at blindside flanker before being ruled out.

Gareth Davies comes into the starting XV to partner Dan Biggar.

Nick Tompkins and Owen Watkin form a new-look midfield with Liam Williams returning to the side to line-up alongside Louis Rees-Zammit and Leigh Halfpenny.

“We were pleased to kick the tournament off with a victory last weekend and to be heading to Scotland with a win behind us.

“We continue to build and to move forward and it is great to do that from a position of winning.
“It is a quick six-day turnaround this week but we are looking forward to getting back out there.

“We have picked up a couple of injuries but we see it as more of an opportunity for those coming into the side.

“We have to feel extremely disappointed for Josh (Macleod) who we selected to start and to win his first cap only to be ruled out later that day through injury.”

Elliot Dee, Rhodri Jones and Leon Brown provide the front-row cover for Wales with Will Rowlands and James Botham completing the forward contingent. Kieran Hardy, Callum Sheedy and Halaholo provide the back-line cover.

WALES TEAM TO PLAY SCOTLAND (SATURDAY FEBRUARY 13, KO 16.45)

1. Wyn Jones (31 Caps)

2. Ken Owens (78 Caps)

3. Tomas Francis (53 Caps)

4. Adam Beard (22 Caps)

5. Alun Wyn Jones (CAPT) (144 Caps)

6. Aaron Wainwright (27 Caps)

7. Justin Tipuric (81 Caps)

8. Taulupe Faletau (82 Caps)

9. Gareth Davies (58 Caps)

10. Dan Biggar (88 Caps)

11. Liam Williams (67 Caps)

12. Nick Tompkins (9 Caps)

13. Owen Watkin (26 Caps)

14. Louis Rees-Zammit (5 Caps)

15. Leigh Halfpenny (94 Caps)

Replacements:

16. Elliot Dee (33 Caps)

17. Rhodri Jones (18 Caps)

18. Leon Brown (13 Caps)

19. Will Rowlands (6 Caps)

20. James Botham (3 Caps)

21. Kieran Hardy (2 Caps)

22. Callum Sheedy (5 Caps)

23. Uilisi Halaholo (*Uncapped)

Players unavailable for selection:

Dan Lydiate (released), Josh Navidi, Josh Macleod, Tomos Williams, Johnny Williams, George North, Jonathan Davies, Hallam Amos, Josh Adams.

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2 Irish Internationals re-sign & new singing announced by Ulster

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Photo by Ian MacNicol/Getty Images

Irish internationals, Rob Herring and Ian Madigan, will continue to call Ulster home for at least the next two years, with former European Player of the Year, Leone Nakarawa, set to make his presence felt in the province.

Hooker, Rob Herring, who continues to be a familiar presence in the Ireland set-up, has signed an extension that will keep him at Kingspan Stadium until at least June 2023. Known as a leader within the squad, Herring, who is within touching distance of his 200th cap for the province, said:

“I’m delighted to sign a new contract with Ulster – there’s a great atmosphere at the club at the moment. We are all pretty close mates here, working hard to make memories and win silverware for the province. That’s definitely something I want to be a part of for as long as I can.”

Ulster Rugby Head Coach, Dan McFarland, said: 

“Rob is an established international in the Ireland team, as well as one of our most-capped Ulster players. An integral part of this team, he is a natural leader both on and off the pitch, and I’m really pleased that Rob has committed his future with us for another two seasons.” 

Having already made his presence keenly felt since signing with Ulster last season, Ian Madigan, has put pen-to-paper on a new two-year deal. The fly half, who has delivered some heart-stopping performances – most notably when his 80th minute long range penalty secured Ulster’s place in last season’s Guinness PRO14 Final – will continue to bring a wealth of experience to the squad in the years ahead. On his contract extension, Madigan, said:  

“I’m delighted to extend my contract with Ulster – it was an easy decision for me, and my partner Anna, as we have loved our time in Belfast so far. I’ve really enjoyed playing under the current coaching team, as well as working alongside some of the younger players in the squad as they break through into the senior team, which is very exciting for the club. I believe the team are good enough to win trophies in the near future, and that is my number one goal. I also can’t wait to experience a packed-out Kingspan Stadium and get the opportunity to meet the supporters in-person sometime soon.” 

McFarland added: “Ian has bags of big-game experience and he has delivered for us on a number of occasions already, with the Guinness PRO14 Semi-Final against Edinburgh and the recent win over Connacht springing to mind. He also massively contributes to our squad off the pitch, passing on his experience to our young half-backs. I’m delighted he has extended his time with us for another two years.” 

Completing today’s announcement is a new face set to join the ranks of Ulster in the shape of 6ft 6in Flying Fijian forward, Leone Nakarawa. The 32-year old Olympic gold medal winner was crowned European Player of the Year in 2018 and will make the move to Kingspan Stadium from Glasgow Warriors on a one-year deal. With an ability to play in both the second row and back row, Nakarawa is known for his devastating offloads, as well as being no stranger to the try-line. 

Of the new signing, Dan McFarland, said:

“It’s an exciting time for Leone to be making the move to Ulster for the upcoming season as we look to continue to build on our ambitions as a squad. Given his broad skillset and experience, as well as some impressive accolades to his name, I’m confident that he’ll be a valuable addition to the team, and we look forward to welcoming Leone to the province.”

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England v Barbarians: CANCELLED

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(Photo by David Rogers/Getty Images)

The RFU has today cancelled the Quilter Cup England v Barbarians fixture scheduled for Sunday 25 October.
 
As part of its ongoing investigation into a breach of the Covid code of conduct that took place on 21 October, the RFU has today discovered there was an earlier undisclosed breach that took place on 20 October when a number of Barbarians players left the hotel bubble without permission and without informing organisers about their whereabouts.
 
The RFU has concluded that the players leaving their Covid-secure environment on 20 October without then isolating from the rest of the group on their return has resulted in the bubble environment being compromised, with the potential risk of Covid transmission from individuals outside the bubble to everyone in the Barbarians team and management.
 

The RFU is therefore left with no alternative but to cancel the game.

Bill Sweeney, RFU CEO said: “We are incredibly disappointed to be calling a halt to this fixture, we know how much fans were looking forward to seeing the teams play.  However, our priority is to protect the health and safety of the England squad and the other international teams they will go up against this Autumn.  There has been a great deal of effort put into Covid codes of conduct and planning for games, including cooperation with Premiership Clubs to release additional players to fulfil the fixture safely, and we are all incredibly frustrated and disappointed that the actions of a number of Barbarians players mean we no longer feel it is safe for the game to go ahead.”

The RFU investigation is ongoing and no details on individuals or numbers of players involved will be confirmed until the investigation is concluded.

STATEMENT FROM RFU ENDS

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