Rugby players turned TV commentators, Michael Lynagh and Brian Moore tamed Lions referee Nigel Owens in the Lion enclosure at London Zoo, where the International Rugby Board announced Specsavers as the sponsor of the match officials on the next British and Irish Lions tour.
This high-profile agreement covers sponsorship of the international referees of the 125th anniversary tour to Hong Kong and Australia this summer, where the Lions are hoping to claim victory. The refs will wear Specsavers-branded kit for each tour match, including the three Tests between the Lions and Australia.
Good eyesight essential
Specsavers’ chairman Doug Perkins and former second row forward for Ammanford, Carmarthen and Llanelli is eager to provide support for the oval-ball game’s officials: ‘We have an on-going commitment to professionalism and fair play in sport. As good eyesight is clearly very important in competitive sport, we’re glad to help referees get the best possible support to do their job well.’
IRB Chief Executive Brett Gosper proudly adds: ‘This is good news for rugby and shows the healthy state that the sport is in, attracting top-class commercial partners. Specsavers has a proven track record within the sports sector and we are looking forward to working closely with them.’
The tour runs from Monday 3 June to Saturday 6 July, at the same time as the exclusive Specsavers launch of a Tackle The Game hub on PlanetRugby.com, with videos to explain rugby’s trickier technicalities.
As well as the Lions rugby tour, Specsavers also sponsors the Scottish Football Association match officials, the RaboDirect PRO12 rugby league and the Irish Ladies GAA in the Republic of Ireland.