FNB’s ground-breaking partnership for women’s rugby in South Africa marks the first time that the team will have a major sponsor since the women’s XVs programme was relaunched in 2018.

“Yesterday was Women’s Day in South Africa and as we are celebrating the role of women in society, it feels apt to be announcing this major, new sponsorship today,” said Jurie Roux, CEO of SA Rugby.

“We first partnered with FNB five years ago – although their involvement in rugby spans much longer than that – and they have always aligned with our vision for the organization and the sport in South Africa.

“To have them come on board as principal sponsor of the Springbok Women not only further emphasizes their commitment to rugby, but also to women’s sport, for which we are very grateful.

“Women’s rugby is a major priority for SA Rugby, and we know FNB share our passion for the subject. Our women’s team represents all that is good in sports development in South Africa.

“We all believe that we are at the start of an amazing journey for women’s rugby in our country. It is fantastic to have FNB partnering us on that road that will at some point in the future see the Springbok Women become world champions. To borrow from FNB, this will definitely be a journey from grassroots to greatness.”

Faye Mfikwe, FNB Chief Marketing Officer, said: “As a proudly South African brand, we recognise the power of sport in nation-building and shared prosperity. Hence, we're thrilled to expand our relationship with SA Rugby by sponsoring the Springbok Women's team.

“Our decision to deepen this partnership is in line with our grassroots to greatness sponsorship strategy, which allows us to support platforms that not only help develop local talent but also showcase our country's ability to compete in the global arena.

“Our sponsorship of the Springbok Women's team is also pivotal in our journey to empower women in sport.”

The Springbok Women – who recorded comfortable victories in their Rugby Africa Women’s Cup matches in Cape Town in June – returned to South Africa last week from a two-Test tour to Japan, where they recorded their first victory on foreign soil in a shared series (1-1).

They face Spain in Johannesburg on Saturday, as a curtain raiser to the Castle Lager Rugby Championship clash between the Springboks and New Zealand at Emirates Airline Park, and again next Friday in Potchefstroom.

The team will then go into their final preparation stretch before the Rugby World Cup, which kicks off in October in New Zealand, where the Springbok Women will come up against France (8 October), Fiji (16 October) and England (23 October) in their pool matches.

Lynne Cantwell, SA Rugby’s High-Performance Manager for Women’s Rugby, said: “We are delighted to have FNB on board in the women's game, as one of our core priorities at this stage is to attract strong and credible sponsors, such as FNB and Betway.

“We’ve always had a strong partnership with FNB and it's wonderful that they have also shown a huge interest and commitment in the women's game.

“Our plans are to have six to eight Tests per year in future, as well as further investment in a strong elite domestic competition, and we hope other sponsors will see this partnership with FNB as a reason to feel confident about the direction we are taking with the women's game,” added Cantwell.