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ERC Chooses Web Ellis balls

23rd October 2003

ERC will have the most famous historical name in Rugby Union on its side when the Heineken Cup and European Challenge Cup kick-off in December - all ERC matches will be played exclusively with Webb Ellis balls for the next four years.

William Webb Ellis is the man credited with founding the game at Rugby School in 1823 and whose name lives on.

The Webb Ellis balls have been chosen by ERC from a shortlist of four major rugby ball manufacturers and will be used in all 175 Heineken Cup, European Challenge Cup and European Shield matches.

Lawrence Webb, Managing Director of Webb Ellis and son of 12-times capped England wing Rodney Webb - but no relation to William Webb Ellis - said:
"To supply balls for such an elite tournament is a massive coup for us.

"It is a great endorsement for the quality and technology of the Webb Ellis ball and we are committed to an ongoing programme of research and development to provide the best match balls in the world.

"Our offices are in Rugby, about 100 metres from Rugby School, and, although we are a relatively new company and have been operating for only about 18 months, we have tremendous internal experience that has produced rugby balls for the highest level of competition for the last 15 years. We also produce sports equipment and leisure wear."

Derek McGrath, ERC Chief Executive, said: "We are delighted to have reached an agreement with Webb Ellis. The deal incorporates supplying balls to the Heineken Cup, European Challenge Cup and the European Shield. After rigorous performance based testing of different manufacturers' balls, ERC decided to go with Webb Ellis."

The ERC tournaments kick-off on the first weekend of December and climax in the high profile Heineken Cup, European Challenge Cup and European Shield finals on 22 / 23 May, 2004.