Rhino to meet with players over match ball concerns

Players have raised concerns about the quality of the new Super League ball, manufactured by Rhino.

Rhino, who signed a new three-year deal with the RFL to supply the official match balls, intend to hold consultations with players over the issue, after they were approached by players’ union 1eagu3.

It could result in a new ball being developed for the 2014 season, while Rhino and 1eagu3 are also working on the development of “bespoke rugby league equipment.”

Several players have complained about the new match balls on Twitter, and the issue has been raised through the association.

A 1eagu3 statement said: “Rhino Rugby advise us that it has provided match balls to the professional Rugby Union game for over four years. In this period they confirm no complaints received. They further advise that all balls pass all stringent testing and abide by the RFL required specs. They stress that common with all new balls, they do need a period of bedding in. However, they acknowledge that they do take the feedback from our members very seriously indeed.

“As a result of our approach, Rhino have committed themselves to organising through 1eagu3 some forums with the players to listen to their concerns. They will also run a series of tests on the ball. Rhino have moved to assure us that the players views and concerns will be listened to. They also confirm that Rhino has a tradition of developing product with coaches and players input. They want this to be the same in League, and they have stressed that they would be delighted to work with us and our members on developing a new ball for 2014 if required. 

“Rhino is committed to Rugby league, and is investing significant amounts of money into the game. They want to be around for the long term and are delighted that they can have professional discussions with the players via our Association recognising that (players) are the end users and they (Rhino) will listen to your views. 

“We are naturally delighted at being able to exert our influence in a constructive way with Rhino and are pleased to work with them in partnership to make the Rhino Rugby League ball a ball befitting the great game of Rugby League.”

The 1eagu3 management committee comprises of several Super League players, including chairman Jon Wilkin, Jamie Peacock and Lee Briers.

It was established to give players representation in discussions within the game, and to help develop the sport of rugby league.

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