Connacht Rugby has struck a major deal with sportswear newcomers BLK Sport to supply a full range of new kit for the province.
In a four year deal, BLK Sport will be Connacht Rugby’s official kit supplier, taking over from Mayo-based RugbyTech. It is the Australian manufacturer’s first foray into European Rugby.
BLK will design new playing kit and develop a training and leisure range, which according to Connacht Rugby's commercial and marketing head, Alex Saul, is the largest apparel deal in Connacht Rugby’s history. Not only will BLK provide playing gear for the first team, but also for the British & Irish Cup squad, age grade squads, Academy, women's team, Connacht junior squads and Connacht referees. Elvery’s involvement with Connacht Rugby will continue, becoming the official retailer.
"BLK's parent company has a proud heritage in rugby in the Southern Hemisphere,” says Saul, “ and we are delighted to become their lead team in Europe as they look to establish the brand over here. Their significant four year commitment to Connacht Rugby demonstrates how far the club has come in these past few years."
Connacht CEO Tom Sears described the new deal as significant for the club and also for the Australia company which is now expanding into Europe.
“Connacht Rugby is the fastest growing club in Europe,” says Sears,” and this is part of our development going forward.
“We thank Elverys and Rugby Tech for everything they have done for Connacht Rugby, and Elvery’s will continue its involvement as the official retailers.”
The new kit will be unveiled in August when Connacht opens its 2013/14 pre-season under new coach Pat Lam against Castres and Wasps. And for fans worried that some of Connacht’s “traditional” elements may be lost on the Australians, Sears says the company’s designs will be vetted by a Connacht “collective” involving himself, Saul, Pat Lam and Connacht Rugby manager Tim Allnutt.
“Don’t worry, the lads will not be wearing pink - they will be green. BLK has been given a detailed brief about Connacht, our culture and our heritage, and that will all be taken into account.”
Created just two years ago, BLK has already established a reputation Down Under, becoming the official apparel partners of Manu Samoa, Fiji, Tonga, University of Canberra Brumbies, Melbourne Rebels and Canterbury Rugby Union.