Popular New Zealand brand Molenberg has signed a historic sponsorship deal with the Black Ferns and Black Ferns Sevens.
New Zealand Rugby's (NZR) two flagship national women's teams will feature the Molenberg logo on their playing and training shorts for the next two years.
The partnership follows the announcement of NZR's first professional contracts for women and marks the first standalone corporate sponsorship of the five-time World Champion Black Ferns and the reigning Rugby World Cup Sevens Champion Black Ferns Sevens.
New Zealand Rugby Chief Executive Steve Tew said Molenberg's sponsorship reflected the ongoing success and growing popularity of women's rugby.
"The number of women playing rugby in New Zealand and around the world continues to grow and it is fantastic to see that growth being complemented by another sponsor alongside major partners adidas and AIG," Tew said.
"Our Black Ferns and Black Ferns Sevens players have been fantastic ambassadors for women's rugby, and Molenberg's decision to get behind both teams will only enhance their ability to inspire the next generation of players."
Goodman Fielder Managing Director Tim Deane said the deal reflected a great brand fit and hoped the new partnership would help to continue the growth of women's rugby.
"Molenberg is a bread for all New Zealanders and a great brand fit with these teams as they not only represent New Zealand on the international sports field, but also represent everyday Kiwis," Deane said.
"We hope our partnership will help women's rugby continue to grow in New Zealand, and are thrilled to be fuelling such a fantastic team as they to build on their achievements."
NZR Head of Women's Rugby Development Cate Sexton said Molenberg's support was a major milestone for the game.
"Our women's players are forging new ground both on and off the field and to have a sponsor commit to the Black Ferns and Black Ferns Sevens is another special moment," Sexton said.
"Molenberg have sent a strong and positive message to every young New Zealand girl thinking about taking up rugby. These are exciting times."
The Black Ferns will debut the newly branded Molenberg playing shorts in the first of two tests against Australia for the Laurie O'Reilly Memorial Trophy in Sydney on 18 August, then again during the return test at Eden Park on 25 August.