The American leisure and footwear company Rockport is the new Welsh National Team shirt sponsor. The Â£1m deal will initially run for two years and will see the name Rockport feature on the National Team shirt.
This is the first of a number of sponsorship deals to be announced ahead of the 2002/2003 season, and the Welsh Rugby Union is delighted to formally unveil the company as its official shirt sponsor and leisure wear supplier.
In addition, Rockport will also produce an exclusive apparel range for the WRU which will be sold through the WRU retail outlets and other independent retailers in Wales. This exciting new range will include men's jeans, chinos, dress shorts, shirts, knitwear and casual jackets.
"The WRU and the national team are delighted to be associated which such an innovative and well established leisurewear company," said WRU chairman, Glanmor Griffiths.
"Coming at the start of the countdown to the 2003 Rugby World Cup, this deal is a real confidence booster for the Welsh players and I know they will be proud to wear the new kit for the first time in our Autumn Series of internationals in November and then the Six Nations Championship in the new year.
"These are tough times for professional sporting bodies and teams in the field of sponsorship. Our link with Rockport proves that Welsh rugby is still highly valued in the sporting world and we look forward to a long and successful partnership with them.
"This deal also strengthens our links with our official kit suppliers,Reebok, who are the parent company of Rockport. Reebok first became involved with Wales in 1996 and are currently half-way through their second four-year contract.
"Having relationships with such significant global companies as Reebok and Rockport is excellent news for Welsh rugby and provides vital revenue to our national game.
"By the time the second Reebok contract expires in 2004, the value of our official kit and official shirt sponsorship deals between 1996-2004 will have exceeded Â£10m. Those figures prove that Welsh rugby is still a powerful brand in rugby union."
As well as carrying a new name across the chest, the Welsh jersey for the 2002/2003 season will also have a new look. The home kit will be have a black collar and black piping on a traditional red shirt and black shorts, while the away strip will be black with a green collar and white shorts.
The new kit will be available from 24 October and will be used in the four Autumn Internationals that face Steve Hansen's men in November.
"The players are really excited by the new kit and are looking forward to wearing it for the first time in our Autumn series. With the Rugby World Cup only 14 months away, this new deal is a real boost for the whole squad," said Hansen.
Wales will play four games in November, starting with a clash with Romania at The Racecourse, Wrexham on 1 November. There are then three successive matches at the Millennium Stadium - against Fiji on 9 November, Canada on 16 November and New Zealand on 23 November.
Angus O'Brien has quickly settled into the Wales Sevens squad after solid performances in Hong Kong and Japan. With two rounds remaining in Glasgow and Twickenham on the World Series, WRU TV's Graeme Gillespie chats to the rising star.
Wales winger Luke Morgan has established himself as one of the deadliest finishers on the Sevens World Series. WRU TV's Graeme Gillespie catches up with him on the eve of this weekend's round in Glasgow.
All roads lead to Cardiff on Sunday for the SSE SWALEC Finals Day at the Millennium Stadium. Cambrian Welfare tackle Ystradgynlais in the Bowl final, Ystrad Rhondda play Newcastle Emlyn in the Plate final while defending champions Pontypridd face Bridgend in the Cup final.
WRU Chief Executive Roger Lewis, Deputy Minister for Culture, Sport and Tourism Ken Skates and WRU Chairman Gareth Davies earlier this week launched a new competition in conjunction with the WRU unveiling its archive room.
Welsh players and management joined Deputy Minister for Sport Ken Skates at the Pierhead Building, Cardiff Bay earlier this week to reveal the Union's pioneering school-club hub initiative has been so successful the project will now almost double the scale of the original project.
The Scarlets, Newport Gwent Dragons, Cardiff Blues and the Ospreys look ahead to Judgement Day III which sees the Blues take on the Ospreys (2.30) and the Dragons tackle the Scarlets (4.45pm) at the Millennium Stadium tomorrow afternoon.
Ystradgynlais and Ynysddu played out a titanic struggle at Taffs Well in the SSE SWALEC Bowl semi-final. At the end of the game neither team could be separated after a 15-15 stalemate but Ystradgynlais go through on try count.
Blues strike first in JD III battle - Newport Gwent Dragons lock Andrew Coombs, WRU referee Dylan Llyr Jones and Cardiff Blues hooker Matthew Rees decide dressing room allocations for Judgement Day III
Wales Under 18 captain Calum Haggett has received a conditional offer to read Biomedical Science at St Anne's College, Oxford. WRU chairman Gareth Davies went to meet Calum and Coleg y Cymoedd Principal Judith Evans to wish him luck in his exams and pass on some of his personal experience.