12 Dec, 14:42
Prop Cian Healy is expected to miss the start of the 2014 RBS 6 Nations after undergoing surgery on his injured ankle on Wednesday.
Gilbert Sales and Marketing Director, Richard Gray, said that the arrangement was a further continuation of Gilbert's strong association with top level rugby.
"We are delighted to have been awarded this contract, in the face of some stiff opposition," he said. "The opportunity presented by the new look Celtic Competitions is tremendously exciting and we look forward to working closely with the twelve teams to maximise the potential offered by our partnership."
"The Gilbert ball is the number one choice of professional players world wide and Gilbert are proud to supply balls for; amongst many others: Rugby World Cup 2003, England, Ireland, Scotland, Wales, France, South Africa, Heineken Cup, Super 12 and the Premier League and - most recently - New Zealand."
Gilbert confirmed that they will be producing two new balls, a Celtic League and a Celtic Cup ball, and will also be working on the development of a bespoke range as the competitions develop.
Keith Grainger, Tournament Director of the Celtic competitions said: "We are very pleased that a brand such as Gilbert has shown confidence in our new structures. All three International teams currently play with the Gilbert ball and it makes sense that the players should also use it in our domestic competitions. Gilbert are well known to rugby supporters and we will be working together to maximise sales through the twelve club shops, the high street sports traders and to promote world wide sales through our web site, www.celticleague.com which will be launched later this month".
This is the second partnership announced by the Celtic Rugby organisation within the last few days and more announcements are expected, as interest in the competition accelerates ahead of this year's Rugby World Cup.