• 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.”

Steve Kenchington, CEO, Land Rover New Zealand said: “We are very proud of the partnership between the new Defender and Women’s Rugby – a sport that runs deep through Land Rover’s DNA. The Women’s Rugby World Cup is committed to providing the same world-class game for the incredibly capable female players, while embracing a sustainability-focused experience for spectators – The Defender plug-in hybrid perfectly aligns with that ethos.”

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.

Further Information

About World Rugby

World Rugby is an international federation and a global movement comprising more than 500 million fans and 10 million players within 128 national member federations affiliated through six regional associations.

Located in Dublin, Ireland, World Rugby’s purpose is to grow rugby by making it more relevant and accessible, with a vision of a global sport for all, true to its values. The driving force behind the sport’s significant growth has been World Rugby’s portfolio of major events, from the flagship men’s and women’s Rugby World Cups and U20 Championship, that celebrates the future stars of the sport, to the excitement of the men’s and women’s Rugby World Cup Sevens and HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series which are instrumental in attracting new fans.

The financial success of the men’s Rugby World Cup enables World Rugby to invest record sums in the development and growth of the sport from the playground to the podium, ensuring that the sport is as accessible and enjoyable for as many people as possible. Between 2020-23, the international federation will invest more than £565 million in the sport, representing a 22 per cent uplift on the previous four-year business cycle.  

About Jaguar Land Rover: Reimagining the future of modern luxury by design
Jaguar Land Rover is reimagining the future of modern luxury by design through its distinct, British brands.

Our current model range embraces fully electric, plug-in hybrid and mild-hybrid vehicles, as well as the latest diesel and petrol engines.

Central to our Reimagine strategy is the electrification of both the Land Rover and Jaguar brands with two clear, distinct personalities. All Jaguar and Land Rover nameplates will be available in pure electric form by the end of the decade. This marks the start of the company’s journey to become a net zero carbon business across its supply chain, products and operations by 2039.

As a wholly owned subsidiary of Tata Motors since 2008, Jaguar Land Rover has unrivalled access to leading global players in technology and sustainability within the wider Tata Group.

About Rugby World Cup 2021
The showpiece event in women’s rugby union 15s, Rugby World Cup 2021 will again feature 12 teams – seven of whom qualified directly via their performances at Ireland 2017 and five from a global qualification process – with 26 matches played across 35 days.

RWC 2021 will be the first Rugby World Cup to adopt a gender-neutral naming approach, furthering World Rugby’s commitment to equality and consistency across its portfolio of major tournaments. World Rugby were the first major sporting federation to adopt this policy for its major tournaments.