Unison to support junior Hawke’s Bay rugby players for further three years

March 08, 2018 11:27 AM
HBRU Women’s Rugby Development Officer, Krysten Cottrell, shows young players (L-R) Carter Frame-Tawita, Richard Mageie, Ricco Tran key skills at McLean Park

Unison Networks is continuing its support of junior rugby in Hawke’s Bay by extending its sponsorship deal with the Hawke’s Bay Rugby Union (HBRU) through to 2021.

Under its Greatest Supporter programme – which is this year celebrating 10 years supporting junior sport - the electricity distributor encourages participation in sport, providing financial assistance and/or sports equipment for young rugby, netball, hockey and football players.

Unison Relationship Manager, Danny Gough said, “Our partnership with HBRU is where our Greatest Supporter programme kicked off, originating with junior rugby in 2009. It’s one of our longest and most visible sponsorships and is an incredibly important vehicle for promoting safety around electricity to young people.

“Playing sport brings people together, encourages participation, develops talent and contributes to the wellbeing of our regions, which we are proud to power and connect,” Mr Gough said.

HBRU CEO, Jay Campbell, who was key in establishing the partnership with Unison along with Mr Gough in 2009, said rugby has seen significant growth since Unison’s involvement.

“Over 33,000 junior rugby players have come through since 2009 and numbers continue to grow each season. We’re excited to extend our partnership with Unison to promote and deliver rugby across the province,” said Mr Campbell.

Sponsorship renewed with a focus on women’s rugby

The three-year deal will see some of Unison’s sponsorship targeted towards developing women’s rugby, which will help to strengthen the game in Hawke’s Bay.

“We believe that recruiting and developing more female coaches and referees is critical in getting more female players participating, so that’s where our focus will sit,” said Mr Campbell.

Unison has recently extended its support of junior netball, signed a one-year contract with Central Football – with a view to extending this a further – and supports junior hockey.

The company will begin distributing around 10,000 10 Years Greatest Supporter bags in the province’s colours of black and white from March, when rugby weigh ins begin, until around May as each sports season begins.