Women's rugby a breadwinner

By James Perry

The Black Ferns 15s and 7s sides have a unique sponsor in Molenberg bread. The Black Ferns have never had their own sponsor in the past, so they see this as a step in a new direction.

With five 15's World Cup titles, a 7s side of consistent winners, including taking this year's Commonwealth Games gold medal, Goodman-Fielder general manager Tim Deane says, "it makes commercial sense for us to back these teams." 

Deane says women's sport, in general, is undergoing a growth period, something Black Ferns prop Aleisha Pearl-Nelson agrees with. 

"Finally women's rugby, but women's sport, in general, is getting noticed more."

Veteran Black Fern Renee Wickliffe, who was recently another of 30 players to be given professional contracts with New Zealand Rugby, says it's great that the Black Fern brand will become more visible.

"I'm sure there are kids out there that eat Molenberg.  And to see our brand on bread I guess it gives them an opportunity to be a Black Fern one day."

New Zealand Rugby CEO Steve Tew says Molenberg has a "strong and positive message to every young New Zealand girl thinking about taking up rugby."

Tew also echos Wickliffe, saying, "[having] the two teams and brands in front of people every morning on the breakfast table is pretty exciting for us."

As part of the two-year sponsorship deal, both of the Black Ferns sides will feature the Molenberg logo on their training and playing shorts. 

The Black Ferns will debut their brand new sponsored clothing when they play Australia in August for the Laurie O'Reilly Memorial Trophy.