The Irish Rugby Football Union and Ulster Bank have today announced a new partnership that will see Ulster Bank become the Official Community Partner to the IRFU, which includes title sponsorship of the All-Ireland League and the Ireland Club International team until 2014.
The announcement also introduces a new club volunteer initiative, Ulster Bank RugbyForce, where selected clubs will receive funding to renovate their facilities.
Ulster Bank has increased its considerable support to Irish rugby through this new partnership which also exists through the sponsorship of the Six Nations Championship by Royal Bank of Scotland, the parent company of Ulster Bank.
This new partnership further cements the relationship between rugby in Ireland and Ulster Bank which will be supporting the Ireland Club International team, which allows non-professional club players to play for Ireland against similar amateur selections.
The Ulster Bank Club International team will be playing two games this year against a Scotland Clubs team and and England Counties side during the RBS 6 Nations Championship.
A significant component to the new partnership was the desire by the IRFU and Ulster Bank to support and develop community rugby clubs in Ireland and this is something that is highlighted through the Ulster Bank RugbyForce initiative that is designed to help unite club members and local volunteers to improve their club and community rugby facilities.
Ulster Bank RugbyForce encourages rugby supporters, their friends and families to give something back to their local community rugby club by volunteering to undertake renovations to clubhouses and grounds.
Four lucky clubs will be selected for a very special makeover, winning €;5,000 of goods and resources to use toward their planned club development during the Ulster Bank RugbyForce weekend.
Clubs must register for Ulster Bank RugbyForce online at www.ulsterbank.com/rugby by March 25 of this year.
IRFU President Caleb Powell said: “This is an exciting new partnership for Irish rugby which will provide much needed support to all clubs and to the wonderful volunteer effort that goes into our community game.
“The RugbyForce programme is further development of this effort and a superb way to help further incentivise the passionate work that these rugby people around Ireland already give to their clubs.
“I would like to thank Ulster Bank for their decision to pledge their support to Irish rugby. I warmly welcome the bank further into our rugby family and I look forward to a mutually beneficial partnership over the next three years.”
Ellvena Graham, Director of Business Services Ireland, Ulster Bank, commented: “Ulster Bank is delighted to extend their partnership with the IRFU and rugby throughout the country.
“We are very proud of our ongoing sponsorship of one of the world’s leading rugby competitions, the RBS 6 Nations, and this new community focused partnership offers an even greater opportunity for Ulster Bank to support its network of branches, business centres, staff and indeed customers throughout the island of Ireland with a number of exciting new initiatives.
“We are extremely pleased to introduce Ulster Bank RugbyForce and look forward to working with volunteers and improving club facilities in Ireland.”