The PRO12, rugby's premier professional club competition in Ireland, Italy, Scotland and Wales, was formally launched in Dublin's Conrad Hotel where the glittering new trophy was unveiled on Tuesday.
Speaking at the launch John Feehan, Chief Executive of the PRO12, said: "The PRO12 is clearly more than a league, as it also involves play-off semifinals and a showpiece Final, and as such we needed a name that encapsulates both the structure and nature of the competition, more in keeping with the extraordinary growth it has experienced over the last 5 years."
Roel van Veggel, General Manager of sponsor RaboDirect in Ireland said: "At RaboDirect we believe that our values of passion, honesty, commitment and responsibility echo the values of this professional competition and the game of Rugby Union itself and so we're very confident that we've achieved an exceptional fit in securing this sponsorship.
"We're very excited about getting involved in Rugby Union, a sport that ignites so much passion not only in Ireland but in communities in Italy, Scotland, Wales and around the world," he added.
Gert Bouwman, Global Head of Rabobank International Direct Banking said: "Rabobank Group's expertise in executing sponsorships globally will allow RaboDirect to take this competition to even greater heights. We're looking forward to generating more enthusiasm for the competition, connecting with an even larger audience of people through their love of rugby."
Following the unveiling of the new PRO12 Trophy, 61 cms high and with 8.3 kgs of sterling silver used in its making, Andy Irvine, Chairman of the PRO12, commented that he was particularly glad to see the unique contemporary design of the new Trophy as it will be clearly identifiable as THE trophy in Celtic and Italian rugby which will go 'on tour' to supporters through the 12 clubs and around the 4 countries.
He said: "We look forward to working with RaboDirect as well as our existing sponsors - Rhino and Specsavers, with all 12 teams in the 4 countries, with the match officials and with all the media so as to ensure that rugby supporters experience the very best of an ever improving competition."
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