The Ospreys helped to unite the rugby and business communities of Wales and New Zealand on Thursday, co-hosting a special event in Pencoed that brought a touch of All Black magic to the region.
With Cardiff’s Millennium Stadium hosting the New Zealand team’s Rugby World Cup fixture against Georgia, a day of activity saw the region teaming up with New Zealand Trade and Enterprise (NZTE), the economic development and trade promotion agency, to introduce two exciting sports technology companies to the UK.
The day kicked off with a community rugby festival at Bridgend College’s Pencoed Campus, attended by 130 school children. Ospreys in the Community staff led the festival, accompanied by 10 students from the college’s Rugby Academy and three ‘Kiwi Ospreys’, Brendon Leonard, Johnny Claxton and Chris Gibbes.
Additional support came from All Blacks Conrad Smith, Codie Taylor and Sonny Bill Williams, who took time out from training in Cardiff to drop in and support NZTE, lending a hand on the pitch and meeting their young supporters.
After the children took part in a live demonstration of the new technology the focus switched from rugby to business as the All Blacks headed back to Cardiff and the Ospreys trio set off for Edinburgh and Friday’s PRO12 game.
Given the technology link, it was the Ospreys’ long-term commercial partner Sony UK Technology Centre who provided the perfect venue for a networking reception that saw Welsh and New Zealand businesses come together.
After the event Yarnie Guthrie, Ospreys Commercial Manager, said:
“Today was a really nice celebration of rugby and business, and what two very similar nations in Wales and New Zealand have to offer.
“We have strong links with New Zealand here at the Ospreys and because of that were approached by NZTE with a view to support a community initiative with business activation.
“We are delighted to be able to assist with such a prestigious event, to welcome the All Blacks to one of our hotbeds of rugby talent for the morning and to introduce two leading technology businesses from New Zealand to the Welsh business community in conjunction with our partners.
“It’s been a fantastic occasion, one that has made a real impact, and we hope that the guys at NZTE, ADInstruments and VX Sport have found it a worthwhile experience.”
Emma Bell, Marketing and Communications Manager – Europe, New Zealand Trade and Enterprise added:
“Working with Ospreys on the event allowed us to create an excellent platform for showcasing our New Zealand sports technology companies to UK media and industry. Attending the business networking reception at Sony UK Technology Centre was also very valuable as it enabled us to build connections between the New Zealand and Welsh technology industries.”
Steve Dalton OBE, Managing Director, Sony UK Technology Centre, said:
“We’ve been supporting the Ospreys Schools Programme for more than three years and this event was a fantastic opportunity for us to take that involvement with the local community a bit further and allow young children to get up close and personal with big rugby stars.
“As important or us at Sony UK Technology Centre was the privilege of hosting NZTE and the two New Zealand businesses, showcasing their product at our premises which is at the heart of the Welsh technology world.”