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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

Eddie Jones updates squad for Italy preperation

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England head coach Eddie Jones has named his squad for this week’s Guinness Six Nations match against Italy.

Jones’ side will travel to Rome later this week, where they will face Italy at the Stadio Olimpico on Sunday 13 February (3pm GMT KO).

Wasps’ Joe Launchbury returns to the squad following injury for the first time since December 2020.  There is also a first call up for London Irish’s Tom Pearson.

Lewis Ludlam suffered a rib injury in the game against Scotland and is unavailable for selection this week.  Luke Northmore reported with a hamstring injury and is unable to train.

Courtney Lawes is progressing through return to play protocols and Jonny Hill will be with the squad in camp to continue his rehab.

Italy v England is live on ITV and BBC Radio 5 Live.

FORWARDS
Alfie Barbeary (Wasps, uncapped)
Jamie Blamire (Newcastle Falcons, 5 caps)
Ollie Chessum, Leicester Tigers, uncapped)
Luke Cowan-Dickie (Exeter Chiefs, 32 caps)
Tom Curry (Sale Sharks, 37 caps)
Alex Dombrandt (Harlequins, 5 caps)
Charlie Ewels (Bath Rugby, 27 caps)
Ellis Genge (Leicester Tigers, 32 caps)
Jamie George (Saracens, 62 caps)
Joe Heyes (Leicester Tigers, 2 caps)
Maro Itoje (Saracens, 52 caps)
Nick Isiekwe (Saracens, 4 caps)
Joe Launchbury (Wasps, 69 caps)
Courtney Lawes (Northampton Saints, 90 caps)
Joe Marler (Harlequins, 75 caps)
Tom Pearson (London Irish, uncapped)
Bevan Rodd (Sale Sharks, 2 caps)
Sam Simmonds (Exeter Chiefs, 10 caps)
Kyle Sinckler (Bristol Bears, 48 caps)
Will Stuart (Bath Rugby, 16 caps) 

BACKS
Mark Atkinson (Gloucester Rugby, 1 cap)
Elliot Daly (Saracens, 53 caps)
George Ford (Leicester Tigers, 78 caps)
George Furbank (Northampton Saints, 5 caps)
Ollie Hassell-Collins (London Irish, uncapped)
Louis Lynagh (Harlequins, uncapped)
Max Malins (Saracens, 11 caps)
Joe Marchant (Harlequins, 8 caps)
Jack Nowell (Exeter Chiefs, 34 caps)
Raffi Quirke (Sale Sharks, 2 caps)
Adam Radwan (Newcastle Falcons, 2 caps)
Harry Randall (Bristol Bears, 2 caps)
Henry Slade (Exeter Chiefs, 44 caps)
Marcus Smith (Harlequins, 6 caps)
Freddie Steward (Leicester Tigers, 6 caps)
Ben Youngs (Leicester Tigers, 113 caps)

ENDS

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Autumn Nations Cup

World Rugby approves birth right amendment for players to transfer unions

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  • New process can benefit players and the global competitiveness of rugby
  • Fairness and integrity key principles that underpin the framework
  • Approval follows extensive discussion and collaboration across the game
  • Revised Regulation will apply from 1 January 2022

The World Rugby Council has approved an amendment to the sport’s regulations governing national team representation that will now permit an international player to transfer once from one union to another subject to demonstrating a close and credible link to that union via birth right.

From 1 January, 2022, in order to transfer from one union to another under the revised Regulation 8 (eligibility), a player will need to achieve the below criteria:

  • The player must stand-down from international rugby for 36 months
  • The player must either be born in the country to which they wish to transfer or have a parent or grandparent born in that country
  • Under the revised Regulation 8 criteria, a player may only change union once and each case will be subject to approval by the World Rugby Regulations Committee to preserve integrity

After 1 January 2022, any player who meets the above criteria can apply immediately for a transfer.

The Regulation 8 revisions will also align the “age of majority” across 15s and sevens. All players will now be ‘captured’ at 18 years of age to simplify the Regulation and improve union understanding and compliance.

Approval of the amended regulation follows requests by emerging nations and a subsequent wide-ranging consultation process with member unions, regions and International Rugby Players examining the possibility of amending the principle within Regulation that stipulates that a player may only represent one union at international level, save for specific circumstances relating to participation in the Olympic Games.

The benefits of the amendment include:

  • Simplicity and alignment: transfers are currently permitted in the context of participation in the Olympics in the sevens game. This amendment will create one aligned, simplified process across the game
  • Development of emerging nations: the player depth of emerging nations may be improved by permitting players, who have close and credible links to the “emerging union” through birth or ancestry, to “return” to those unions having previously represented another union
  • Player-focused approach: the process recognised the modern rugby environment, including global player movement, the current ability to capture players by selecting them on the bench, and the desire of some players to transfer having been selected a limited number of times for one union. It also examined the impact of any change on the integrity of the international competition landscape.

World Rugby Chairman Sir Bill Beaumont said: “Approval of this landmark regulatory change is the culmination of detailed and widespread modelling and consultation across the game. We have listened to our membership and players and sought to update the regulation recognising the modern professional rugby environment without compromising the integrity of the international game.

“Any player who wishes to transfer will need to have a close and credible link to their new union, namely birth right or parent or grandparent birth right while meeting strong criteria, including a 36-month stand down period. We believe that this is the fairest way to implement progressive change that puts players first while also having the potential to support a growing, increasingly competitive international men’s and women’s game.”

World Rugby Vice-Chairman Bernard Laporte added: “We have listened to our membership and honoured our pledge to undertake wide-ranging review of this important regulation. We have consulted, sought feedback from our unions, regions and most importantly to players’ representatives, before making a recommendation to the Council. This change to how international rugby operates will provide transformational opportunities to players with dual backgrounds, providing they meet the key criteria sets out in the Regulation 8.”

International Rugby Players CEO, Omar Hassanein said:“The proposal to change the rules around player eligibility is something that we have worked on over many years with our member associations. Many players across the world will now benefit from the chance to represent the country of their or their ancestors’ birth, serving as a real boost to the competitiveness of emerging nations, which in turn, will benefit the game as a whole.” 

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Rugby

England name interesting squad to face Wallabies

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(Photo by Shaun Botterill/Getty Images)

The England line-up for this weekend’s Test match against Australia has been named.

Maro Itoje will make his 50th appearance for England, following his debut against Italy in 2016.

Captain Owen Farrell returns to the side at inside centre, Henry Slade stays at outside centre and Marcus Smith will start at fly half.

Jonny May (left) and Manu Tuilagi (right) will be on the wings, Freddie Steward is at full back and Ben Youngs is at scrum half.

In an unchanged forward pack from England’s 69-3 win over Tonga last weekend, Itoje is joined by lock Jonny Hill, hooker Jamie George and props Ellis Genge and Kyle Sinckler.

Courtney Lawes stays at blind-side flanker, Sam Underhill is open-side flanker and Tom Curry is at No. 8.

Bevan Rodd and Raffi Quirke could make their England debuts after being named as finishers – alongside Jamie Blamire, Will Stuart, Charlie Ewels, Alex Dombrandt, Sam Simmonds and Max Malins.

Jones said: “We know this will be a tough test for us, we’re playing against a team who have been together a while and who have beat the world champions twice.  As an Australian I know how much this game means. 

“We’ve had a really good week of preparation, we’re looking to improve our performance this week and I think this side is building well.”

England v Australia is live on Amazon Prime Sport and TalkSPORT [Saturday 13 November, 5.30pm KO].

ENGLAND XV
15. Freddie Steward (Leicester Tigers, 3 caps)
14. Manu Tuilagi (Sale Sharks, 44 caps)
13. Henry Slade (Exeter Chiefs, 41 caps)
12. Owen Farrell (Saracens, 93 caps)
11. Jonny May (Gloucester Rugby, 67 caps)
10. Marcus Smith (Harlequins, 3 caps)
9. Ben Youngs (Leicester Tigers, 110 caps)
1. Ellis Genge (Leicester Tigers, 31 caps)
2. Jamie George (Saracens, 60 caps)
3. Kyle Sinckler (Bristol Bears, 45 caps)
4. Maro Itoje (Saracens, 49 caps)
5. Jonny Hill (Exeter Chiefs, 10 caps)
6. Courtney Lawes (Northampton Saints, 88 caps)
7. Sam Underhill (Bath Rugby, 25 caps)
8. Tom Curry (Sale Sharks, 34 caps)

FINISHERS
16. Jamie Blamire (Newcastle Falcons, 3 caps)
17. Bevan Rodd (Sale Sharks, uncapped)
18. Will Stuart (Bath Rugby, 13 caps)
19. Charlie Ewels (Bath Rugby, 24 caps)
20. Alex Dombrandt (Harlequins, 2 caps)
21. Sam Simmonds (Exeter Chiefs, 7 caps)
22. Raffi Quirke (Sale Sharks, uncapped)
23. Max Malins (Saracens, 8 caps)
ENDS

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