Page last updated at 20:20 GMT, Tuesday, 27 April 2010 21:20 UK

Crisp advert mauled by rugby body

Brian O'Driscoll holding trophy
The Irish rugby team were Grand Slam champions last year.

The Irish Rugby Football Union has called for the withdrawal of a crisp maker's advert describing the company as "proud sponsors of Irish rugby".

The Largo Foods poster for Hunky Dorys crisps features a woman in a low-cut vest leaning over a rugby ball and asking, "Are you staring at my crisps?"

IRFU lawyers have contacted the Advertising Standards Authority of Ireland over the "misleading claims".

Largo Foods admitted it sponsored Navan Rugby Club and not the Irish team.

Padraig Power, commercial and marketing director of the IRFU, said: "This advertising campaign is in very bad taste and one which the IRFU would not want to be associated with in any way.

'Absolutely untrue'

"Firstly, its blatant exploitation of women is tasteless and base and quite simply unacceptable. Irish rugby has a strong family focus and would not tolerate any connection with such an approach.

"Secondly, the claim that the product is a proud sponsor of Irish rugby implies that the company is a significant sponsor of the game in this country, through the IRFU. This is absolutely untrue and a cynical ploy in an attempt to capitalise on the game's popularity.

"By doing so it has the potential to undermine the legitimate claims of the many genuine sponsors and supporters of Irish rugby, whose investment has been a key element in the success of rugby at grass roots level throughout the country, and of our provincial and national teams."

Raymond Coyle of Largo Foods confirmed in an interview with the Irish Herald that the IRFU had no input into the advertisement.

"The IRFU are absolutely right. They have nothing to do with it whatsoever, but we do sponsor Irish rugby, we sponsor Navan Rugby Club," he said.

"Our target was to bring humour and fun. These are dark times at the moment."

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