NatWest to sponsor Six Nations rugby tournament – for one year

27/02/16.  RBS Six Nations,  Italy v Scotland,  Stadio Olimpico, Rome. Scotland players captain and man of the match Greig Laidlaw (left) and Finn Russell celebrate after the final whistle. Picture Ian Rutherford
27/02/16. RBS Six Nations, Italy v Scotland, Stadio Olimpico, Rome. Scotland players captain and man of the match Greig Laidlaw (left) and Finn Russell celebrate after the final whistle. Picture Ian Rutherford
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The RBS 6 Nations rugby tournament will become the NatWest Six Nations next year.

Royal Bank of Scotland, which owns the vast NatWest banking network and is phasing out the RBS initials as a brand, yesterday confirmed it was extending its sponsorship agreement for a further year.

However, it is unknown who will sponsor the international rugby championship beyond 2018.

It is understood that a reduced price was agreed for the additional one-year sponsorship agreement.

The 2018 championship kicks off on 3 February with Wales hosting Scotland in the opening fixture at Principality Stadium in Cardiff.

David Wheldon, chief marketing officer at NatWest, said: “We have been title sponsors of the Six Nations for the last 15 years and are delighted to be renewing our sponsorship for a further year under our customer facing NatWest brand.

“The 2018 NatWest Six Nations will provide us with a platform to engage and build affinity with our customers and to offer our continued support to a sport with which we have had a long running and mutually beneficial relationship.”

Six Nations Rugby chief executive John Feehan said: “We are delighted to be announcing NatWest as title sponsor of the NatWest Six Nations and the extension of our relationship with RBS.

“They have been excellent partners over the past 15 years and we know what an outstanding role they have played and will continue to play in the success of our championship.”

RBS became the title sponsor of the Six Nations ahead of the 2003 championship and the latest agreement was signed in 2013 which was believed to be worth around €55 million over four years. England won the 2016 Six Nations.

Scotland’s first home fixture this season is on 11 February when they take on France at BT Murrayfield.

NatWest has a strong rugby heritage and for the last five years has supported more than 700 community rugby clubs across England and Wales via NatWest RugbyForce. 

The Six Nations tournament is the successor to the Home Nations Championship, which ran from 1883 to 1909 and 1932 to 1939, played between teams from England, Ireland, Scotland and Wales – the world’s first international rugby union tournament.

With the addition of France, this became the Five Nations Championship (1910 to 1931 and 1947 to 1999), which in turn became the Six Nations Championship with the addition of Italy in 2000.