• New partnership: The New Defender supports the women’s game for the first time as Worldwide Partner for Rugby World Cup 2021
  • Valuing diversity and inclusion: Defender backs World Rugby in raising awareness and driving engagement with women’s rugby around the world
  • Focus on the future: Youth mascot programme ‘Defenders of Tomorrow’ to launch in New Zealand, as Defender puts the next generation centre stage
  • Electric hybrid help: Fleet of plug-in electric hybrid Defenders will support the tournament operations
  • Defender family: Now includes the eight seat Defender 130 to join the critically acclaimed Defender 90 and Defender 110

Wednesday 8 June 2022, Gaydon, UK– Land Rover and World Rugby have announced a new partnership that puts the New Defender at the heart of the women’s game for the first time. 

Excited about the power of women‘s rugby, Land Rover’s 25-year commitment to supporting rugby at all levels around the world has expanded, with Defender becoming a Worldwide Partner of Rugby World Cup 2021, which is being played from 8 October to 12 November in New Zealand. 

It is the first time the global brand will support the women’s tournament as a Worldwide Partner with Defender pledging to help introduce new audiences and engage them with a sport that is growing at a phenomenal rate around the world. This will run alongside its long-term role as Worldwide Partner of the men’s tournament.

World Rugby Chief Executive Officer Alan Gilpin, said: “With every Rugby World Cup location confirmed through to 2033, this is the era of women and rugby and we are committed to ensuring that the sport is as attractive and accessible as possible on a global basis.  Partnerships like this not only showcase the excitement of the women’s game, but are also purpose-driven, impactful and help attract new audiences and participants.

“We are very proud to be announcing our partnership with the New Defender for Rugby World Cup 2021. We have been fortunate to have worked with Land Rover for many years – a brand that is passionate about rugby and its values – and we are extremely excited to now be welcoming them to the partner family for the women’s edition of Rugby World Cup in New Zealand this year.

“Rugby World Cup 2021 will be a symbol of togetherness following the pandemic and we are anticipating a very special tournament on a number of levels. We are excited that the New Defender will be at the heart of the journey.”

Laura Wood, Head of Global PR Brand and Partnerships, Land Rover said: “Today is a new milestone on the Defender rugby journey, as we announce our increased support to the whole of the sport. We have long committed to the game’s grassroots, helping introduce thousands of boys and girls around the world to rugby. Now it’s time for Defender to deepen that commitment by helping women’s rugby get the recognition it deserves. We are excited to fully integrate the New Defender – which combines adventurous spirit and capability with innovation and sustainability – into our Rugby World Cup partnerships, starting this year.”

Land Rover has already outlined its commitment to a more sustainable future as a brand, and Rugby World Cup 2021 and the men’s edition in 2023 will provide a central platform to tell the story. This commitment will extend to the New Zealand tournament where a fleet of new electric hybrid Defenders will help the running of the tournament.

Fifty-two youth mascots will be selected as ‘Defenders of Tomorrow’. Children from across New Zealand and beyond, will be chosen for their passion and dedication to changing their world for the better. On top of this once-in-a-lifetime experience, the youngsters will actively influence and determine the post-tournament legacy for Defender and Rugby World Cup 2021.

Sally Horrox, Director of Women’s Rugby at World Rugby, added: “We are delighted to announce our partnership with the New Defender for Rugby World Cup 2021. Forging meaningful partnerships that are purpose-driven is extremely important to us and we are particularly excited that the Defenders of Tomorrow mascot programme will engage and inspire our future rugby generation to act and deliver impact on and off the pitch.”

More information about the Defender campaign for Rugby World Cup 2021 will be announced later this year. Recruitment for the ‘Defenders of Tomorrow’ begins in June.