Bunnings Warehouse signs three-year deal with NZ Rugby

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From left: Bunnings Merchandise Services and Business Improvement Manager Lisa Lear, NZR General Manager Community Rugby Steve Lancaster, NZR chief executive Mark Robinson, and Bunnings Head of Trade NZ Paul Connolly.

New Zealand Rugby and Bunnings Warehouse have announced the signing of a game-changing three-year deal to sponsor domestic competitions and support community rugby across the country.

Bunnings Warehouse will be the primary partner and naming rights sponsor of the Bunnings Warehouse National Provincial Championship (NPC), Farah Palmer Cup (FPC) presented by Bunnings Warehouse, Bunnings Warehouse Heartland Championships and Super Rugby Aotearoa Under 20s Championship presented by Bunnings Warehouse.

NZR chief executive Mark Robinson says the Bunnings Warehouse partnership was part of a shift in priorities for rugby’s national body.

“The past year has provided us with an opportunity to pause and reflect on our priorities, and in Bunnings Warehouse we have found a partner who shares our goal of putting rugby at the heart of every community.

“We are thrilled to have a partner who wants to help us grow the game and support the pathways that give the talented young people in our clubs the opportunity to represent their communities, whether it’s through the Bunnings Warehouse NPC, the Farah Palmer Cup presented by Bunnings Warehouse, Super Rugby Aotearoa U20s presented by Bunnings Warehouse or the Bunnings Warehouse Heartland Championship.

“Bunnings Warehouse is synonymous with DIY, so I guess it’s fitting they have decided to roll their sleeves up and support our clubs, and NZR and our provincial unions will be right there with them.”

After announcing the new partnership at the Ponsonby Rugby Football Club in Auckland, Bunnings Head of Trade NZ Paul Connolly, said the deal was about giving back.

“Our team lives and works within the communities we operate in, and our focus has always been on contributing to our local communities in meaningful ways — so it was a no-brainer for us to get behind a sport that shares and values the importance of local community connection and teamwork.

“We are proud to be part of the New Zealand Rugby family, and we are looking forward to working closely together to grow grass-roots rugby and help clubs most in need.”

NZR General Manager Community Rugby Steve Lancaster says 2021 is shaping up as a special year for provincial rugby.

“We’re seeing a resurgence in interest in our communities after a tough year for everyone. A lot of people are going back to their clubs to connect with friends and whanau and, no doubt, that support will transfer into our flagship domestic competitions.

“After looking at some format changes, the Bunnings Warehouse NPC will remain in its current 14-team premiership-championship format in 2021, including crossover matches between the two divisions.

“The Farah Palmer Cup presented by Bunnings Warehouse will revert to the same format after splitting into north and south pools for the Covid-disrupted 2020 season.”

The draws for both competitions and the Bunnings Warehouse Heartland Championships will be announced shortly.

From left: Bunnings Merchandise Services and Business Improvement Manager Lisa Lear, NZR General Manager Community Rugby Steve Lancaster, NZR chief executive Mark Robinson, and Bunnings Head of Trade NZ Paul Connolly.