By 1823, Gilbert was already supplying balls to Rugby School when William Webb Ellis first picked up and ran with the ball and the game of Rugby Football began.
Since then Gilbert has been foremost amongst rugby ball manufacturers and has supplied balls for many rugby world cups. With their long history and association with the sport they have also gained a reputation for rugby boots and accessories, and are the most integral provider of balls in the game.
Gilbert can claim to have had a hand in laying the foundations of modern rugby.
When Williams Webb Ellis first picked up and ran with the ball, inventing the game of rugby in the process, William Gilbert was already supplying equipment to Rugby School from a small shoe-making workshop in the local High Street - which to this day still operates as a sports shop.
From real pigs’ bladders in the early 1800s, through early hand-stitched balls right up to the state-of-the-art examples used today, Gilbert have been part of the game’s history for nearly 200 years.
As official suppliers to the Rugby World Cup, they are constantly at the forefront of research and development, and are responsible for introducing a new match ball every four years for the greatest tournament in the world – which they will be doing again for the next global event in 2015.