Page last updated at 16:27 GMT, Saturday, 20 March 2010

Insurance firm Admiral is new sponsor of Welsh rugby

Wales' youngest international Tom Prydie in the outgoing Brains-sponsored shirt
In and out: new international Tom Prydie in the outgoing Brains shirt

Insurance company Admiral has been confirmed as Welsh rugby's new sponsor.

The Welsh Rugby Union has signed a three-year deal with one of the nation's biggest employers, which has more than 3,000 staff.

Admiral will replace brewer Brains, and the national team will wear the new shirt from November, although fans will be able to buy replicas in September.

Chief executive Henry Engelhardt said it was "an incredibly exciting partnership" for Admiral.

The deal was announced as Wales took on Italy at the Millennium Stadium in Cardiff in their final game of the 2010 Six Nations, winning 33-10.

The WRU and Admiral said it linked "two of the biggest brands now representing the sporting, commercial and culture image of the nation outside Wales".

Henry Engelhardt
As someone who has come to live in Wales from another country, I have become aware of the iconic status the Welsh national team has with the people of Wales
Henry Engelhardt, chief executive, Admiral

Mr Engelhardt and WRU group chief executive Roger Lewis announced that the deal will run from 1 October, although they did not reveal any financial details.

Admiral said it was developing the new design with the WRU, and its logo would also appear on Wales training shirts, shorts, and some leisure wear.

A range of children's rugby kit will also be launched.

Mr Engelhardt, who is American, said: "As someone who has come to live in Wales from another country, I have become aware of the iconic status the Welsh national team has with the people of Wales.

Pre-tax profit

"We are proud to be a successful Welsh company, which has taken what it does best to the rest of the world. And we look forward to a successful partnership with the WRU.

"I know our staff throughout Wales will be proud to see the Admiral name emblazoned on the shirts of the Welsh team and will cheer them on at every game."

Earlier this month Admiral announced that its pre-tax profit rose to £216m in 2009.

Admiral logo
The logo of Admiral, which says it has 1.9m customers in the UK

The company was launched in 1993 and says it insures about 7% of the cars on UK roads, with 1.9m customers.

It has offices in Cardiff, Swansea and Newport and is the only company in the FTSE 100 - the most widely used stock market indicator - with its headquarters in Wales.

Mr Lewis said: "We are delighted to be forging a new partnership with a brand which rightly enjoys an international reputation for commercial success twinned with being a great employer."

He said: "Wales is one of the top nations in world rugby and it is important that we forge commercial relationships with brands that mirror that status.

Brains has sponsored Wales since 2004, and Mr Lewis said it had been a "fantastic relationship".

The WRU's connection with the brewer will remain as Brains will retain the "pourage" or beer rights at the Millennium Stadium.

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