Irish forecourt and convenience retailer Maxol has renewed its sponsorship with Ulster Mini Rugby for the next two seasons, taking the partnership to 2019.

The deal renews Maxol’s sponsorship of the Maxol Mini Rugby festivals held at various clubs throughout the province, and the eight Maxol Primary school Mini Rugby qualifying festivals that take place across the country which culminate in the four-day finals week at the Kingspan Stadium in Belfast.

Each year approximately 1,500 6- to 12-year olds and over 70 primary schools take part in Ulster Mini Rugby with the aim of giving the young players their first taste of the sport while learning the basic skills that go behind it.

Brian Donaldson, chief executive officer, Maxol, said: “We’re delighted to be able to partner with Ulster Rugby once again, an organisation that is deeply committed to bringing rugby to a new generation of players.

“At Maxol we strive to play an active role in supporting local communities and this sponsorship enables us and our retailers to do that. We are proud to support the growth of grassroots rugby and in helping to encourage our young people to build team skills and be active. I am delighted we are continuing to invest in this very popular and worthwhile series of festivals and school’s tournament.”

The renewal was welcomed by Neil Hanna, business development manager at Ulster Rugby, who said: “Mini Rugby is one of the fastest growing areas of our game, with thousands of young players togging out at clubs across Northern Ireland each Saturday. The Maxol Mini Rugby programme is a great opportunity to bring many of our clubs and schools together, allowing players to develop their skills against different oppositions. These events are greatly enhanced by the presence of members from the Ulster Rugby squad, who provide some useful tips to the budding players as well as providing a platform to nurture the talent of the future and ignite passion in the sport. We are thrilled with Maxol’s continued support for Ulster Rugby and are excited with what these next two seasons will enable us to achieve as a partnership.”