26 April 2012, 8:17am
Blood is, as they, say thicker than water and the relationship between Bath Rugby and Rhino Rugby has its origins in family ties. When Derek de Glanville became Rhino Managing Director from the early 1990's it was fairly natural that the company would have a close relationship with Bath as his son Phil became a player, and captain, of both the Club and England in the succeeding years – including some glorious ones for the Club. That relationship developed into Rhino's first Official Supplier deal – focussed as it still is today on the supply of the company's market leading scrummaging machines, contact and training equipment.
This close relationship has continued into the professional era, through the management buy-out of Rhino on Derek's retirement by longstanding shareholder and current CEO Reg Clark and Martin Johnson in late 2006, and is still flourishing, the parties having signed a new three year deal at the beginning of this season. There has always been a sense of partnership to the arrangement, with a two way flow of ideas between Rhino product developers and the Bath coaching staff. Sir Ian McGeechan, who knows Rhino well through their Official Supplier relationship with the Lions, and Martin Haag were early adopters of the new Rhino Collision King machine, developed to promote correct body position and technique at the breakdown and launched this season to wide acclaim, including the prestigious Technical Innovation Award at the 2011 Rugby Expo.
Going ahead Bath and Rhino plan to work together more closely in rolling out services and products to the Club's wider community of Clubs and schools, and more simply to continue what has over the years been an exceptionally close and mutually beneficial relationship.