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New All Ireland Police Rugby Team to Take to Field on the 2/11/11

The newly branded Ireland Police Rugby team will take on a British Police Select Team at Newforge in Belfast later today.

The Ireland Police Rugby Team is a combination of members of An Garda Síochána and the Police Service of Northern Ireland.

Ireland Police Rugby was founded in 2003.  However, today will be their first game playing in their new kits, which display the newly designed Ireland Police Rugby badge.  It is also the third fixture against the British Police, with the winners this year taking away a newly presented Challenge Cup.

The badge incorporates the symbols for the four rugby provinces with the surrounds from the Garda crest on the inside and the PSNI crest on the outside.

The kits also include the branding of sponsors NYSE Euronext and Co-Operation Ireland.

Commenting on today’s game co-chair of the team PSNI Chief Inspector Tim Mairs said: "We are delighted to officially launch our team and new branding and play the British Police. Today marks another important milestone in the development of our team and will only help to strengthen the good relationships we have with our colleagues from An Garda Síochána. The team is a vibrant and positive example of all-island co-operation and integration, reflecting the ongoing professional and developing relationships between both Police organisations.”

Garda representative Detective Superintendent Eamon O’Grady added: "The structure of Ireland Police Rugby is constituted on the model of the Irish Rugby Football Union and is a reflection of the close cooperation and a friendship that exists between our organisations and rugby clubs in the four provinces of Ireland as reflected in our new crest".

"This game has the added significance of forming part of the tenth anniversary celebrations of the formation of the PSNI. Ireland Police Rugby would like to acknowledge the support it has received from the Commissioner of An Garda Síochána, the Chief Constable of the PSNI and the President of the IRFU. We would also like to take the opportunity to welcome the British Police to Belfast on this historic occasion."

Tony McManus, Head of Operations for NYSE Euronext, Belfast said: "NYSE Euronext Centre of Excellence is proud to sponsor the British & Irish Police Rugby event, which continues to support the cross border relationships and community strategy on a new positive footing for the future of Ireland/Northern Ireland.”

Speaking ahead of the match, Co-Operation Ireland’s Chief Executive Peter Sheridan commented: "Co-operation Ireland is delighted to endorse and support the ‘Ireland Police Rugby’ initiative which embodies the positive relationships that exist between Police Services on both sides of the border".

Mr Sheridan added: "Rugby has always been a unifying sport, particularly in Ireland where one team represents the whole of the island on the international field. Here the sport is being used as a vehicle to further the relationship between our two police forces, breaking down barriers and promoting greater understanding and respect".

This Ireland Police Rugby Team symbolises the benefits of increased North South co-operation and so this match against the British police is particularly significant.