The Scotland women's team will have their own shirt sponsor for the first time as they welcomes SP Energy Networks onto their playing kit this season.
It is the first separate shirt sponsor from the Scotland men’s side since the men’s and women’s unions integrated in 2009.
The three-year deal – which also includes rights for the Scotland U20, Scotland U18 and Scotland women's sevens teams – will see SP Energy Network’s distinctive logo feature on the front of all the teams’ home and alternate strips from the 2018-19 season.
Scottish Rugby’s Chief Operating Officer Dominic McKay said: “We are very proud to be able to bring in a vital organisation like SP Energy Networks and develop our existing relationship to the extent they are now investing in our Scotland women national team and age-grade teams at this level.
“Scottish Rugby has focused heavily on developing the women’s and youth rugby programmes in recent years and this ground-breaking sponsorship deal reflects how attractive those areas of the game have become, through improving results, to blue chip companies who want to associate themselves with the sport and the communities these teams represent.”
SP Energy Networks CEO Frank Mitchell said: “We are proud to sponsor the Scotland women’s rugby side as a new, exciting season is about to get underway.
“SP Energy Networks is committed to supporting women and girls in our workplaces, through our apprenticeships, women returners’ programmes and through STEM education in schools, colleges and universities, and our deal with Scotland women is an extension of that. Through this new partnership we will help change many young women’s attitudes to opportunities in sport and in pursuing a career in engineering.
“SP Energy Networks will support rugby at all levels and ages, so we’re also delighted that this includes the talent of the future competing at under-18 and under-20 age grades. We look forward to working closely with Scottish Rugby over the next three years.”
As part of the deal, Scottish Rugby will share SP Energy Networks key messaging around safety, power cuts and careers within science, technology, engineering and maths with communities throughout Scotland as the sports body aims to inspire the next generation of players.
Scottish Rugby’s Head of Women and Girls Rugby Gemma Fay said: “This is a hugely positive step which demonstrates the progress the team is making through Scottish Rugby’s investment. We are developing improved performance programmes which is enabling our players to train and play more competitively than ever before, and also allows us to develop a wider base of quality players capable of playing at the highest level.
“To attract a standalone sponsor not only brings in welcome revenue but also helps to develop the team’s identity and recognises the contribution the group is making within Scottish sport as the pinnacle of women’s rugby and something young players can aspire to.”
The team will play their first tests in the new strip this November – including a match at Scotstoun Stadium, Glasgow, against Canada on 27 November 2018.
Photo credit: SNS Group/Scottish Rugby
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