World Rugby and Gallagher, a global insurance brokerage, risk management and consulting services company, today announced a multi-year global partnership establishing Gallagher as an Official Partner of women’s rugby and Rugby World Cup 2025. The announcement signifies Gallagher’s commitment to developing participation in the women’s game around the world.

As part of the partnership agreement, Gallagher will be an Official Partner of WXV in 2023 and 2024 – the new, three-tier annual global women’s competition featuring 18 teams. Launching later this year, WXV will revolutionise the women’s international rugby landscape, providing for the first time a meaningful pathway for all unions and a competitive springboard toward an expanded Rugby World Cup in 2025.  

Coupled with the objectives of World Rugby’s Accelerate programme, WXV aims to increase the depth and competitiveness of the international game leading to Rugby World Cup 2025. WXV will help sustainably ensure a minimum of 10 international fixtures per year for teams, doubling the current fixture programme, raising the reach, profile and impact of the global game.

Gallagher will also be the founding partner of the High Performance Academy, a fully immersive development and leadership programme established by World Rugby and Gallagher with the stated mission of increasing the prominence of female coaches and other high performance roles at elite levels of the sport that will have a lasting impact on the women’s game.

This will include a focus on talent identification, professional support and championing the next generation of international level coaches as World Rugby looks to raise standards on and off the field, underpinning a more competitive game on the road to Rugby World Cup 2025 and beyond. The programme will develop existing coaching talent and identify new women coaches and other high-performance roles in rugby, with the aim of improving the overall standard of women’s rugby around the world. The initial focus will be in England, Australia and the USA to mirror the host locations for the next three women’s Rugby World Cups, and the ambition is to make the programme truly global.

“We are extremely proud to partner with World Rugby and to provide a pathway for women aspiring to work at elite levels of the sport through Rugby World Cup, WXV and the Gallagher High Performance Academy,” said Gallagher Chairman, President and CEO J. Patrick Gallagher, Jr. “Gallagher has deep roots within rugby and a rich history in sports partnerships, sharing the core values of driving high performance through teamwork, integrity, inclusivity, respect and professional excellence.”

Reinforcing Gallagher’s commitment to supporting women’s rugby on a global scale, the launch was supported by former New Zealand player and three-time Rugby World Cup winner, Kendra Cocksedge and England’s most capped player, Rugby World Cup winner and former captain, Sarah Hunter. Both Cocksedge and Hunter were unveiled as ambassadors for Gallagher’s World Rugby partnership.

World Rugby Chief Executive Alan Gilpin said: “We are excited to be partnering with Gallagher to accelerate the growth of women’s rugby. This is an endorsement of the compelling and undeniable opportunity that we have in front of us to grow the game as a whole. All the evidence shows that by leading with women and girls we can propel the sport to new levels, unlocking new markets, attracting new audiences and developing impactful partnerships. Gallagher shares our vision. This partnership is action-oriented, aligns with our plan and we look forward to working together to drive forward the competitiveness, reach and impact of women in rugby.”

World Rugby Chief of Women's Rugby Sally Horrox added: “From the very start, Gallagher has shown a real commitment to supporting the women’s game. The partnership sees them backing three of our most important programmes; WXV, World Rugby's exciting new three-tiered annual tournament, RWC 2025 and what will now be known as the Gallagher High Performance Academy. Gallagher cares deeply about rugby and is committed to increasing the opportunity for women both on and off the field. We look forward to working with them closely on the exciting pathway to 2025 and beyond.”

Celebrating its 10th edition, the expanded Rugby World Cup 2025 is set to be a major attraction in the global sporting calendar, reaching and converting new fans. Gallagher has well-established operations across key markets with a strong presence in rugby including in England, Australia and New Zealand along with a substantial and growing footprint in the Asia-Pacific and Latin America regions. The partnership represents Gallagher’s international outlook and commitment to diversity, a major driver of the sponsorship of Rugby World Cup 2025.

“We are very excited to be bringing together Gallagher with a world-class organisation that shares our values,” said Christopher E. Mead, Gallagher Chief Marketing Officer. “This partnership will provide a career track for women and support the growth of women’s rugby around the world. It will also help deepen connections within communities where we live and work, while helping us support local business partners with our expertise and innovative solutions.”

A launch celebration at Gallagher’s headquarters in Rolling Meadows included a Q&A panel with Gallagher Chairman, President and CEO J. Patrick Gallagher, Jr., World Rugby Chief Executive Alan Gilpin, World Rugby Director of Women's Rugby Sally Horrox and Gallagher Rugby ambassadors Kendra Cocksedge and Sarah Hunter. The event also included a Gallagher Rugby Masterclass demo led by local rugby club, Chicago Lions, and the presence of the Rugby World Cup trophy, on loan from the reigning champions, New Zealand.