Gilbert Rugby Balls Online

Gilbert Rugby Balls


William Gilbert (1799-1877) was the sports boot and shoe maker to Rugby School. In 1823, Gilbert Rugby Balls were being supplied to Rugby School, where William Webb Ellis first picked up and ran with the ball and the game of Rugby Football was invented. These early Gilbert rugby balls were larger and rounder than today's – Gilbert's first Trademark.

The reputation of Gilbert rugby balls UK grew thereafter, winning medals at the Great Exhibitions in London in 1851 and 1862. In 1865, the modern rugby ball shape evolved to enhance handling and passing, following the abolition of the rule that a Goal had to be kicked to win a game. With the popularity of the game growing, Gilbert were exporting to Australia and stitching 2,800 rugby balls a year by 1877.

While the traditional six-panel construction was still in use, most Gilbert rugby balls now comprised four panels by the early 1920s. Distribution spread to New Zealand, Canada and Japan, and the Gilbert Match Rugby Ball represented the ‘gold standard’ in Rugby for over 100 years. By 1970, the Gilbert rugby ball was available in white as well as the traditional tan, and in the 1980s Gilbert perfected the use of new synthetic technologies in its Barbarian rugby ball.

In 1994, Gilbert introduced coloured trims on rugby balls for the first time as a registered trademark. Gilbert were first appointed as the official ball to the Rugby World Cup in 1995 - in South Africa – while the Gilbert Revolution was the official ball at the 1999 Rugby World Cup. In 2003, England's Johnny Wilkinson kicked the winning drop goal with the Gilbert Xact, the Gilbert Synergie was utilised four years later and the Gilbert Virtuo was the choice for the 2011 global tournament. Gilbert were appointed the official ball for the 2015 Rugby World Cup in England - for the 6th consecutive tournament.

Just Rugby use cookies to ensure that we give you the very best experience on our website. These cookies are completely safe and secure and will never contain any sensitive information. Please accept or click for more information.