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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.”

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BBC Sport NI to live-stream Ulster Rugby’s pre-season game with Saracens

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Photo By Ramsey Cardy/Sportsfile via Getty Images)
Ulster Rugby’s pre-season friendly match against Gallagher Premiership side Saracens on Friday 3 September (KO 7pm) will be streamed live on BBC iPlayer and the BBC Sport NI website.

The game kicks off at 7pm with Jim Neilly on commentary alongside former Ulster Rugby, Leicester Tigers and London Irish out-half, Ian Humphreys.

The news of the streamed match follows the announcement that BBC Sport NI will broadcast six of Ulster Rugby’s nine home matches in this season’s inaugural United Rugby Championship live on television.

Up to 10,000 supporters will be allowed into the Kingspan Stadium for the Saracens game making it the first major crowd at the venue since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic in March 2020.

Saracens are coached by former Ulster player and Head Coach, Mark McCall, who, along with David Humphreys lifted the European Cup in Dublin in 1999.

Ulster will play Saracens twice in the coming weeks with a return game in Honourable Artillery Company (HAC) in London pencilled in for Thursday 9 September.

Source – Ulster Rugby

** EXCLUSIVE DAVID LLOYD OFFER FOR ULSTER RUGBY FANS **

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Wallabies make changes for Bledisloe II

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Photo by Mark Tantrum/Getty Images

Wallabies coach Dave Rennie has named Lachlan Swinton and Marika Koroibete in the starting side for the second Bledisloe Cup Test in Auckland on Saturday night.  

They are two of the four changes to the XV, with the experienced Matt To’omua elevated to inside centre for the must win match at Eden Park while Matt Philip starts in the second row.

The front row remains the same for the third consecutive week, James Slipper the starting loosehead prop alongside hooker Brandon Paenga-Amosa with the reliable Allan Alaalatoa at tighthead prop.

Philip will partner Darcy Swain in their first Test start together in the second row, while Swinton’s inclusion has forced a reshuffle of the loose forwards that sees Rob Valetini move to no. 8. Michael Hooper will skipper the side for the 57th time at openside flanker.

The young halves pairing of Tate McDermott and Noah Lolesio get another chance to build on their combination, with Hunter Paisami moving to outside centre to partner To’omua in the midfield.

After an impressive Bledisloe Cup debut, Rebels flyer Andrew Kellaway earns his second start in Wallaby gold alongside Koroibete and fullback Tom Banks in the back three.

67-Test capped prop Scott Sio has been named in his first Wallabies side of 2021 as the finishing loosehead. Jordan Uelese is the replacement hooker with Taniela Tupou set to share the minutes with Alaalatoa at tighthead prop. 

Reds duo Lukhan Salakaia-Loto and Harry Wilson will cover the second and backrow.

Brumbies number nine Nic White is also set for his first appearance for the Wallabies in 2021 after recovering from a knee injury.  He’s joined on the pine by club teammate Len Ikitau and the versatile Reece Hodge who rounds out the matchday 23.

Wallabies coach Dave Rennie said: “Eden Park is a place that most teams fear but we’re excited to get another crack after last weekend’s disappointment.”

“To beat New Zealand, you have to win the collisions and be clinical for 80 minutes and we didn’t do that.

“We’ve got a lot more in us and we’ll show that on Saturday night.”

Stan Sport will showcase Saturday night’s Bledisloe Cup Test ad-free, live and on demand while it will also be simulcast on 9Gem.

Very limited tickets will be available for the Bledisloe Cup Test at Optus Stadium in Perth on Saturday 28 August and available via Ticketmaster.

Wallabies team to play New Zealand at Eden Park, Auckland on Saturday 14 August, 7:05pm NZST
1. James Slipper (104 Tests)
2. Brandon Paenga-Amosa (13 Tests)
3. Allan Alaalatoa (47 Tests)
4. Darcy Swain (4 Tests)
5. Matt Philip (13 Tests)
6. Lachlan Swinton (2 Tests)
7. Michael Hooper (c) (109 Tests)
8. Rob Valetini (8 Tests)
9. Tate McDermott (6 Tests)
10. Noah Lolesio (6 Tests)
11. Marika Koroibete (37 Tests)
12. Matt To’omua (58 Tests)
13. Hunter Paisami (10 Tests)
14. Andrew Kellaway (3 Tests)
15. Tom Banks (15 Tests)
Replacements
16. Jordan Uelese (14 Tests)
17. Scott Sio (68 Tests)
18. Taniela Tupou (29 Tests)
19. Lukhan Salakaia-Loto (29 Tests)
20. Harry Wilson (9 Tests)
21. Nic White (37 Tests)
22. Len Ikitau (3 Tests)
23. Reece Hodge (47 Tests)

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Lions Make Changes For Series Decider

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Photo By Ian Rutherford/Sportsfile Photo by Brendan Moran/Sportsfile via Getty Images

British & Irish Lions head coach Warren Gatland has made six changes to the starting XV which lost to the Springboks last Saturday in Cape Town.

The defeat sees the Castle Lager Lions Series level at 1-1 going into this weekend’s final Test match.

The Tour’s leading try-scorer, Josh Adams (Cardiff Rugby, Wales), makes his Lions Test debut on the right wing joining Duhan van der Merwe (Worcester Warriors, Scotland) who keeps his place on the left. Liam Williams (Scarlets, Wales) is added at full back to complete the back three.

Bundee Aki (Connacht Rugby, Ireland) is included at inside centre to win his first Test cap, joining Robbie Henshaw (Leinster Rugby, Ireland) who switches to 13.

Dan Biggar (Northampton Saints, Wales) is retained at fly-half with Ali Price (Glasgow Warriors, Scotland) starting at scrum half having been named as a replacement last weekend.

In the pack, there are two changes to the front-row with injury-free Wyn Jones (Scarlets, Wales) taking his place on the loosehead to make his Lions Test debut alongside Ken Owens (Scarlets, Wales), who is promoted from the bench to start his first Test of the Tour at hooker. Tadhg Furlong (Leinster Rugby, Ireland) continues on the tighthead to win his sixth-successive Test cap.

Alun Wyn Jones (Ospreys, Wales) is named as captain to win his 12th consecutive cap moving him alongside Graham Price (1977 – 1983) and Mike Gibson (1966 – 1974) in the list of most Lions Test appearances. The iconic Welshman is again partnered in the second row by Maro Itoje (Saracens, England).

The back row remains the same with Courtney Lawes (Northampton Saints, England) at blind side flanker, Tom Curry (Sale Sharks, England) on the open side and Jack Conan (Leinster Rugby, Ireland) at No. 8.

On the bench, Adam Beard (Ospreys, Wales), Finn Russell (Racing 92, Scotland), and Sam Simmonds (Exeter Chiefs, England) feature for the first time in the Test Series and will all win their first Lions cap should they take the field. Kyle Sinckler (Bristol Bears, England) is included subject to the outcome of a disciplinary hearing.

“The matchday 23 have an incredibly special opportunity in front of them – to seal a Lions Series victory in South Africa,” said Gatland.

“It doesn’t get much bigger than this and we’re excited by the challenge that faces us on Saturday.

“We’ve no excuses from last week, the Springboks put us under pressure in the second half and deserved the win. We have to be much better than that second half performance, and I believe we will be.”

Saturday’s clash against the reigning World Champions is the final Test match in the 2021 Castle Lager Lions Series and will be shown live and exclusively on Sky Sports.

SOUTH AFRICA v THE BRITISH & IRISH LIONS

15. Liam Williams (Scarlets, Wales) #833

14. Josh Adams (Cardiff Rugby, Wales) #836

13. Robbie Henshaw (Leinster Rugby, Ireland) #824

12. Bundee Aki (Connacht Rugby, Ireland) #837

11. Duhan van der Merwe (Worcester Warriors, Scotland) #841

10. Dan Biggar (Northampton Saints, Wales) #821

9. Ali Price (Glasgow Warriors, Scotland) #843

1. Wyn Jones (Scarlets, Wales) #842

2. Ken Owens (Scarlets, Wales) #829

3. Tadhg Furlong (Leinster Rugby, Ireland) #818

4. Maro Itoje (Saracens, England) #825

5. Alun Wyn Jones – captain (Ospreys, Wales) #761

6. Courtney Lawes (Northampton Saints, England) #826

7. Tom Curry (Sale Sharks, England) #853

8. Jack Conan (Leinster Rugby, Ireland) #839

Replacements:

16. Luke Cowan-Dickie (Exeter Chiefs, England) #851

17. Mako Vunipola (Saracens, England) #787

18. *Kyle Sinckler (Bristol Bears, England) #814 – subject to outcome of disciplinary hearing.

19. Adam Beard (Ospreys, Wales) #852

20. Sam Simmonds (Exeter Chiefs, England) #849

21. Conor Murray (Munster Rugby, Ireland) #790

22. Finn Russell (Racing 92, Scotland) #835

23. Elliot Daly (Saracens, England) #822

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