Today marked the start of the inaugural Gallagher Premiership Rugby season at Twickenham by celebrating the ‘off-pitch’ heroes.
Premiership Rugby community heroes

Gallagher, the global insurance broker, risk management services and consulting firm, today marked the start of the inaugural Gallagher Premiership Rugby season at Twickenham by celebrating the ‘off-pitch’ heroes that are the lifeblood of the 12 clubs and their local communities.

During the 2018/19 Gallagher Premiership Rugby season, Gallagher will focus on championing the people within the game that embody the values and spirit of rugby, both on and off the pitch - people whose energy, determination and commitment demonstrate their passion to protect and grow the game. To launch the season, Gallagher invited 24 members of the rugby community to Twickenham to stand shoulder-to-shoulder with their club’s star player on the hallowed turf at rugby HQ.

Twelve of Premiership Rugby’s star players, spanning all of the top-flight clubs, were each joined by two members of their own local rugby community to mark the start of Gallagher’s role as official title partner of Premiership Rugby forming part of a campaign entitled: Heroes of the Game. With ages spanning from 14 years old to the late 60s, and each with their own individual relationship to rugby, these ambassadors for the game were picked by their clubs in recognition of all that rugby stands for.

Simon Matson, incoming Chief Executive of Gallagher’s UK Broking and Underwriting operations said: “As a community insurance broker and benefits adviser, our passion is about protecting and helping businesses so they can grow, communities so they can thrive and individuals so they can achieve. Just as rugby helps to inspire, empower and deliver excellence through trust, teamwork and the effective evaluation of risk.

“So what better way to mark the official countdown to the new Gallagher Premiership Rugby season than to take these shared values and shine the spotlight on all those community and club heroes who help make rugby such an inclusive and empowering sport - whose efforts and dedication both protect and grow the game. As the Premiership’s new title partner, we will continue to champion the game’s off-pitch inspirational ambassadors, just as much as we savour each and every competitive clash of its on-pitch heroes.”

Representing each club at the start of the season is:

  • Bath Rugby: Lee Hardy, an avid supporter of the club and member of the Bath’s first Mixed Ability team and Ki Williams, a ‘peer promoter’ for Bath Rugby Foundation and Premiership Rugby’s Project Rugby Hub site at the Rec
  • Bristol Bears: Sid Rai, a current player in the club’s Developing Player Program and Rich Hynes, a highly praised coach at the club’s Community Foundation
  • Exeter Chiefs: Bob Crowe-Swords, a season-ticket holder who attends every single game, including European games and Ryan Barnes, a passionate Rugby player who is currently enrolled on the club’s Hitz programme
  • Gloucester Rugby: Ron Etheridge, former player and part of the club’s community department, and Dave Balmer Stadium Manager
  • Harlequins: Samuel Jones and Obidiah Angus, both participants from Premiership Rugby’s Project Rugby and the Harlequins Foundation
  • Leicester Tigers: David Needham Club Secretary for the team’s Wheelchair Rugby Club and Eric Barker, a volunteer at Tigers Community Rugby for over a quarter of a century
  • Newcastle Falcons: Lawrence Patton, a volunteer from the club’s academy, and Chris Simpson, a volunteer from the Newcastle Falcons Community Club
  • Northampton Saints: Jezz Safford, Club Chaplain and Claire Jones who has been a photographer at the club for over three hundred games
  • Sale Sharks: Daisy and Henry Hibbert-Jones representing Sale Sharks’ Community Trust Initiative – Henry is also involved in the team’s Autism Project
  • Saracens: Matthew Stevens, principal from Saracens High School and Scarlett Cooper-Wall a player from Saracens’ women’s team and member of Saracen’s Sport Foundation
  • Wasps: Graham Harrington, is a participant in Wasps’ Move Like a Pro programme and a player for the Mixed Ability team. Carter Moran is a transgender Rugby player, and currently a HITZ Wasps Community Sports Activator Apprentice
  • Worcester Warriors: Adrian Snelgrove, an advisor to the Warriors Community Foundation Visually Impaired Rugby and Lisa Stokes, a player for Worcester’s Foundation Mixed Ability side

As part of the season launch, Gallagher has also announced a two-year deal with the Rugby Union Writers Club, supporting the prestigious organisation on its on-going mission to further the interest of Premiership Rugby through the media.

Robert Kitson, Chairman of the Rugby Union Writers’ Clubs, said: “Like everyone else in the game the rugby media are eagerly awaiting the new-look Gallagher Premiership. The players may have done more summer training but all those who report on the sport are raring to go as well. We would like to thank Gallagher for agreeing to partner the Rugby Union Writers' Club and look forward to covering their debut season."

Throughout the season, Gallagher will embark on a series of charity initiatives as part of its ongoing commitment to rugby, working with Premiership Rugby to shine a light on the positive work that is being done around the game, both at scale and within the local communities.

Gallagher has been supporting rugby behind the scenes for many years - both in club rugby at a community level and in the Greene King IPA Championship with Richmond FC and Ealing Trailfinders Rugby Club. The UK arm of Gallagher has also been the preferred risk and insurance advisor of Leicester Tigers since as far back as 1985, as well as the preferred broking partner of Wasps since 2016.

Today, with more than 27,000 colleagues across 34 countries, Gallagher is one of the world’s largest insurance brokers, benefit advisers and claims administrators working with organisations and individuals to help manage risk.In partnership with Premiership Rugby, the company’s aim is to help protect and grow the game of rugby - the players, the clubs and the communities that are the pride of millions of fans around the world - by providing its specialist insurance broking and risk management services to the wider Premiership Rugby family.