The Melbourne Rebels have today announced an unique partnership with Japanese giant Kintetsu.
The new alliance represents the most significant partnership ever established between an Australian Super Rugby Club and Japanese company, with the Kintetsu Liners Rugby Football Team to be a major beneficiary.
The Liners parent company, Kintetsu (近鉄), is a Japanese passenger railway company, managing infrastructure and operating passenger train services for over 109 years. Kintetsu’s railway system is the second largest in Japan, connecting Osaka, Nara, Kyoto, Nagoya, Tsu, Ise, and Yoshino. Under the umbrella of holding company giant, Kintetsu Group Holdings Co. Ltd, Kintetu Railway sits alongside Kintetsu World Express, Kintetsu Department Store and 141 other corporations.
The new partnership has a strong rugby focus, with the Melbourne Rebels and the Kintetsu Liners to exchange players, coaches, best practice and innovation over the next two years. The Clubs will also seek to play exhibition games in Osaka and Melbourne each year. The partnership has the clear ambition of improving the on-field performance and commercialisation of both clubs, as the Liners push to regain a position in the Japanese Top League competition.
Today’s announcement was made with Kintetsu Liners Head Coach, Mr. Goshi Arimizu, and General Manager Mr. Kagehiro Iizumi attending Rebels headquarters at AAMI Park. Melbourne Rebels Head Coach Mr. Dave Wessels and CEO Mr. Baden Stephenson will reciprocate and kick off the partnership by consulting at a Kintetsu Liners training base in Osaka next month.
The Liners partnership adds another tangible connection between the Rebels and Japan, following on from the Rebels partnership with the Sunwolves as announced earlier this year.
Speaking at today’s announcement, Melbourne Rebels CEO Mr. Baden Stephenson said:
“The Melbourne Rebels are committed to taking Melbourne to the world through a multi-faceted international strategy. We are blessed that Rugby is a truly global game and we are committed to being a conduit for investment into Victoria long-term.’
“We are developing strong relationships with many successful Japanese companies and utilising our expertise in Rugby to support the Liners efforts to regain their place in the Top League.’
“In the last two years the Melbourne Rebels have proactively conducted trade missions to Japan, taking business delegations of over 100 people in total to Tokyo for our Super Rugby matches against the Sunwolves and making new diplomatic and corporate links.”
Kintetsu Liners General Manager Mr. Kagehiro Iizumi responded by saying:
“The Kintetsu Liners are very excited to have the expertise and people of the Melbourne Rebels working to advance our Club. We have always been impressed with the professionalism of the Rebels and we know that our partnership will be a strong driver for our future success.”
Kintetsu will join Melbourne Rebels long term partners Yakult, Citizen and Massey Ferguson, who hold an established position in both Melbourne and Tokyo. Kintetsu have a developing commercial presence in Melbourne and further trade opportunities will be facilitated and built through the Rebels strong business networks.