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Forging Legends: The Irish School That Shapes International Rugby Players

On the outskirts of Dublin, there is a school that has woven its legacy into the fabric of the nation’s rugby pride – Blackrock College.

Kukri Sports have been a proud partner of the school for many years, providing bespoke, quality sportswear for staff and students. Through working with their elite partners, including Ulster Rugby and Waikato Rugby, Kukri have developed state of the art product innovations and designs, which have been seamlessly incorporated into their range of school sportswear offerings. This ensures that future sporting talent can develop their abilities armed with garments that match the quality of current sporting icons.

This elite education institution has emerged as a factory of international rugby talent, producing a remarkable number of players who have donned the green jersey and represented Ireland on the global stage. Beyond its academic excellence, this school stands as a testament to the symbiotic relationship between sport and education, demonstrating how a well-rounded approach can mould sporting legends.

Arguably its most decorated Rugby alumni is a sportsman widely regarded as one of the greatest rugby players of all time, Brian O-Driscoll. Born a stone’s throw from Blackrock College, O-Driscoll went on to make an indelible impact on the sport through his remarkable skills, leadership, and longevity on the field.

Winning 133 international caps, was also named captain of the British & Irish Lions, for the 2005 tour of South Africa. He currently holds the record for the most Six Nations tries (26) and was inducted into the World Rugby Hall of Fame in 2016.

Other Irish international rugby players who graduated from Blackrock College include; Fergus Slattery, who earned 61 caps for his country, including captaining the most successful Irish touring side of all time in 1979, which won 7 of 8 matches in Australia.

Other significant Irish rugby alumni include;

Victor Costello, who earned 39 Irish caps and was a member of the 2003 Rugby World Cup team. Hugo McNeill, who earned 37 caps and played at the 197 Rugby World Cup, scoring 4 tries in 4 matches.
Luke Fitzgerald, who earned 34 caps and won the 2009 Six Nations championships.
Leo Cullen, who earned 32 caps for his country.

Nurturing young talents into international stars requires more than just raw talent; it demands a nurturing environment that fosters growth on multiple fronts. This school’s approach goes beyond honing athletic prowess; it embraces holistic development, recognizing that character, discipline, and determination are the cornerstones of success in both sports and life.

One might assume that such a rugby-centric focus could overshadow academic pursuits. However, the school’s commitment to academic excellence remains unswerving. Striking a balance between rigorous classroom education and intensive rugby training is a hallmark of their approach. This not only nurtures bright minds but also underscores the importance of time management, a skill that proves invaluable when juggling the demands of studies and sports at higher levels.

The impact of this school resonates far beyond its campus. It serves as an inspiration to aspiring athletes across the country, a reminder that dreams of international glory are attainable with dedication and hard work. The success stories that emerge from these hallowed grounds reinforce the belief that Ireland’s rugby heritage is alive and well, being skilfully passed down through generations.

As the rugby world evolves, this school remains a constant – an institution that continues to shape the trajectory of Irish rugby. It stands as a living tribute to the interplay between passion and purpose, where young talents are nurtured into stars not just for their skill but for their character and resilience. In a world where sports icons are often revered as heroes, this school reminds us that true legends are not just made on the pitch; they are cultivated through education, mentorship, and an unwavering commitment to the pursuit of excellence.

Other significant alumni of the school away from Rugby Include:

  • Alan Lee – Irish international football player
  • Cian O-Sullivan – Title winning Gaelic football player
  • Michael Darragh McAuley – Another ward winning Gaelic football star
  • Bob Geldof – Singer/ songwriter and the driving force behind Band Aid/ Live Aid
  • Bian O’Nolan – Novelist, playwright and satirist
  • Paul Costelloe – Fashion designer and artist
  • Michael McGlynn – Composer, producer and director

Find out more about Blackrock College

Rugby in Focus: A month of exclusive content

In the upcoming weeks, as we celebrate this year’s Rugby World Cup, Kukri Sports is set to unveil a collection of exclusive content dedicated to the sport.

This content will not only provide access to behind the scenes insights into our rugby partners, but also a deeper insight into how we support individual players and help them perform at maximum levels on the pitch. We will also delve into the innovative design components of our professional club kits, which are incorporated into the kits of grassroots clubs around the world.

Our journey in the sport of rugby has been shaped by our strong global partnerships, which include Ulster Rugby and Waikato Rugby, as well as being the long-standing sponsor and official merchandise supplier for the prestigious Hong Kong Sevens.

Kukri is also the proud kit supplier for many teams at grassroots level, including Dungannon RFC, Rugby School, North’s Rugby and Dubai College. Click here to find out more about our rugby partners.

Our kit designs are the result of tireless and cutting-edge innovation and a deep understanding of the needs of rugby players at all levels. With advanced technology and materials, our kits offer superior performance, durability and comfort.

Speaking about the campaign, Josh Beal, Sales Director at Kukri Sports, said, “This campaign is a testament to our dedication to providing athletes with elite level sportswear. Through our innovative rugby offerings and valued collaborations, we’re proud to be the kit supplier and partner of many rugby teams all over the world and remain committed to providing solutions for teams at all levels.” 

From behind the scenes content with rugby stars to glimpses into our designs for partners all over the world, join us on this exciting journey as we honour the game, our partners, and the global rugby community.

For the latest updates and exclusive content throughout this campaign, visit the news section on our website and follow us on social media.

Click here to design your rugby kit and find out more about our rugby partners.



Kukri Sports proudly congratulates Jess Bailey, one of its Youth Talent Programme Ambassadors, on her exceptional performances representing Team England at this year’s Commonwealth Youth Games.

Team England’s squad of 57 athletes competed in four of the sports and 65 medal events over the six days of the competition. They won 49 medals – 16 gold, 23 silver and 10 bronze – placing the team second in the overall medal table.

Reflecting on the experience, Jess admitted her journey to represent Team England at the Commonwealth Youth Games has been a dream come true. “Having the opportunity to represent Team England has been one of the best experiences of my life,” shared Jess. “It’s a crazy feeling to pull on the England vest and represent your country, especially at a competition as prestigious as the Commonwealth Youth Games, and this feeling is one I am very grateful to have experienced.”

Competing in the 3000m event and finishing 4th in a time of 9:38.08, Jess faced a unique set of challenges. “One of the biggest challenges in my event was the heat and humidity. I tried to prepare for this beforehand by going in the sauna several times in the final weeks before we left for the Games, but the run was still unbelievably hard in difficult conditions.”

“Fortunately, the 3000m was on the last day, and by that time we had adapted to the heat. The heat barely even crossed my mind during the race.”

The Commonwealth Youth Games is not only a platform for showcasing athletic prowess, but also a celebration of unity and camaraderie amongst the athletes. Jess shared her experience, saying, “The games definitely felt like it was set up in a way to encourage different nations to make friends.

“All the athletes had been given their nations badge to trade with other nations, which got all the different countries talking and encouraged all of us to make friends and talk to people we wouldn’t have met otherwise. I thought that was brilliant and I made many international friends because of it.”

Drawing on from her journey, Jess offered insightful advice to young athletes aspiring to reach international levels of competition and represent Team England in the future. “My advice would be to just stick with it,” she encouraged. “It’s easy to get hyper focused on just one race / championships, getting disappointed and, if it doesn’t work out, forgetting the bigger picture.

“Disappointment is part of the sport and can be used as motivation as long as it’s managed well.”

Jess also expressed her gratitude for the pivotal figures who have supported her athletics journey. “My dad is definitely the person who, without a doubt, I would never have made it as far in athletics,” she acknowledged. “Both my dad and Mum know me so well and I’m so grateful to have them both by my side.”

Looking forward, Jess’s aspirations extend beyond personal achievements. “I want to make a career out of athletics,” she revealed. “I love training and getting to spend every day dedicated to this sport [athletics] would be a dream come true!”

Kukri would like to congratulate Jess and all of the Team England athletes on their fantastic achievements at this year’s Commonwealth Youth Games.

We were proud to provide the kit that helped athletes to thrive in their sport and be honoured to represent their country.

Click here to relieve this year’s Commonwealth Youth Games.



Over the last month, we are proud to have run a campaign honouring the achievements and commitment of para-athletes across a variety of sports.

The campaign sought to foster a deeper understanding and appreciation for the talent and perseverance of para-athletes, as well as highlighting our dedication to promoting inclusivity in sports, and creating a level playing field for all athletes, regardless of their physical abilities.

Among the remarkable stories during the campaign was the interview with Egyptian Badminton star, Yasmina Eissa, and Loughborough’s Head of Para Sport, Alasdair Donaldson.

Eissa, formerly the Vice Chair of the Para Sports Exec at Loughborough University, spoke of her excitement about the future of para sports, whilst Donaldson explained more on Loughborough University’s efforts and commitment in creating an inclusive sporting landscape for their students.

Click here to read the full interview.

We also collaborated with Special Olympics Great Britain, speaking with talented athletes, Matthew Brough, who competes in tennis, and Ethan Orton, who competes in badminton. Both athletes reflected on their triumphs at this year’s World Games in Berlin, and how they aim to use their experience of the Special Olympics to encourage more disabled athletes to participate in sport.

Click here to read the full interview.

YTP Ambassador Amy Thompson’s recent victory in the Women’s Ambulant shot put at the Senior & Para Open Championships is another step towards her long-term goals. Thompson, who also equalled her personal best in the Women’s Under-18 shot put at Loughborough Pathway Internationals, touched on the barriers she has overcome and her aim to make sport more inclusive in the future.

Click here to watch the full interview.

Speaking about the campaign, Andrew Ronnie, Group Executive Chairman at Kukri Sports, said, “We are very proud to have launched this campaign dedicated to shining a light on para-athletes. The accomplishments of these athletes are a testament to them and their relentless dedication, and we are proud to continue to provide elite sportswear that will help them perform at their best and feel comfortable whilst competing.”

Kukri remains dedicated to advancing inclusivity in sports and creating a more accessible and supportive environment for all athletes.

We are proud to be partnered with British Wheelchair Basketball and Special Olympics, as well as a host of Universities, schools and clubs in supporting their para-athletes across a wide range of sports.

Supporting para-sports: Exclusive interview with Egyptian Badminton star and Loughborough’s Head of para sport

As part of Kukri Sports’ ongoing commitment to celebrating the accomplishments and perseverance of para-athletes, we are proud to present an exclusive interview featuring Alasdair Donaldson, Head of Para Sport at Loughborough University, and Egyptian Badminton star, Yasmina Eissa.

Yasmina Eissa, an Egyptian badminton player and current Loughborough university student, shared her inspiring journey into the world of para sports. “I’ve always been passionate about badminton and was very active when I was younger, competing in a variety of sports.

“When my coach discovered para sports and encouraged me to participate in the World Championships in Korea, it opened up a whole new world for me. I realised the potential of para-badminton and how it allows athletes like me to excel. From there, I knew that was the sport I wanted to continue competing in moving forwards.”

Eissa, who was also the Vice Chair of the Para Sports Exec at Loughborough University this year, continues to play her part in striving towards inclusivity. “Throughout the year we have enjoyed a lot of events, whether that be the ‘Para Sports takeover week’, where we get a lot of people to learn more about para sports and try out para sports such as Wheelchair Tennis and Wheelchair Basketball.

“It allows students with disabilities to come out and play their sport, which they wouldn’t have been able to do in the past because it wasn’t as inclusive.”

Expressing her excitement about the future of para sports, Eissa said, “I believe that para sports can achieve even greater recognition and exposure, just like women’s sports. London 2012 was a turning point for the Olympics, and I hope to see more coverage and opportunities for para-athletes on a global stage.

“I think there’s a lot of misconceptions when you think of the Paralympics, so for me it’s about debunking any myths or stereotypes, and really showing people what it actually is and the talent within it.”

Alasdair Donaldson, who was appointed Loughborough University’s new Head of Para Sport last year following almost ten years at British Triathlon, has played a pivotal role in promoting para sports at Loughborough University.

Donaldson, who graduated from Loughborough University in 1998, shared his thoughts on the university’s long-standing history of supporting para-athletes. “Para sports is not a new thing at Loughborough University, but the focus on it is.

“We have witnessed some exceptional athletes over recent years like Tanni Grey-Thompson, one of Britain’s greatest Paralympic athletes, Clare Griffiths, and Dan Greaves, who have all graduated from Loughborough and achieved incredible success in their respective para sports careers.

The university has been a nurturing ground for para-athletes, fostering an inclusive environment where they train alongside their non-disabled peers.”

Highlighting the university’s commitment to supporting para-athletes in balancing their athletic pursuits and studies, Donaldson said, “The focus goes on the person first; they are here to be students, and we work with them to find a balance between their athletic commitments and academic studies.

“Our cooperative and integrated coaching and support teams ensure that all student-athletes, regardless of their abilities, receive the necessary assistance to thrive and flourish in their sport.”

Donaldson emphasised Loughborough university’s commitment to creating an inclusive sporting landscape and their ambitious plans for the future. “We want to ensure para athletes get the same opportunities as their non-disabled peers.

“We are establishing a Universities/Higher Education working group, where para sports will take the front seat. Our aim is to make every one of our 62 Athletics clubs inclusive and welcoming to everyone who wants to participate.”

Donaldson also touched on Loughborough university’s dedication to increasing the provision for disabled students to engage in sports. “We want to make sure that those who were told at school that sports wasn’t for them have the opportunity to participate. We aim to expand para-coaching provisions with various sports and encourage disabled participants to become confident leaders in sports.

We go into the community and bring the community into us as effectively as we can. The work done by our students, like Abbie Breakwell, who runs participatory events for wheelchair tennis every week, is a testament to the positive impact of community engagement in developing sports for everyone.”

Kukri remains committed to championing para sports and promoting the stories of exceptional athletes like Yasmina Eissa.

Kukri are proud partners of Loughborough University – providing brand-new match apparel, training and leisurewear across the whole of Loughborough’s varied sporting offer. Click here to find out more about them.

Keep an eye out for more para sports content coming soon.

Kukri Sports’ support for para-athletes

Kukri Sports is delighted to launch a new campaign dedicated to showing its support for para-athletes and acknowledging their exceptional accomplishments across a wide range of sports.

This follows on from recent campaigns, which focused on women, men and youth athletes in their chosen sport. They included exclusive interviews with professional Cricket, Netball, Gymnastics & Rugby stars, as well as experiencing a day in the life of Ireland’s rising boxing star, Kieran Molloy, and Northern Diamonds spin bowler Katie Levick.

Throughout July, Kukri will be collaborating with para-athletes from a wide variety of sports. These athletes, who have conquered barriers and overcome obstacles, will provide insightful information for aspiring para-athletes and demonstrate the limitless possibilities that can be achieved through dedication and determination.

We will also be providing a platform for para-athletes from our partners, whilst also showcasing how our products continue to evolve in order to help them perform at their optimum level.

Speaking about the campaign, Kukri Sports’ Sales Director, Josh Beal, stated, “We are honoured to launch this campaign and provide a platform to celebrate para-athletes’ incredible accomplishments. Our aim is to promote diversity and inclusivity by providing sportswear that they feel comfortable, are able to perform and can be proud to wear whilst also helping to foster a society where every individual is recognised for their abilities, regardless of limitations.”

By highlighting the incredible talent and achievements of para-athletes, Kukri hopes to break down barriers and create a more inclusive and equal sporting landscape.

Throughout this campaign and with the support of our partners, Kukri hopes to empower para-athletes, inspire the next generation, and pave the way for a more inclusive and diverse sports industry.

Scottish Gymnastics Partnership Extension

Kukri Sports are delighted to announce a four-year partnership extension with Scottish Gymnastics, the national governing body for gymnastics in Scotland. As part of the deal Kukri will continue to provide bespoke leisure and podium wear for all performance programmes and national teams.

This support will assist Scottish Gymnastics in delivering their athlete-centred, coach-led, performance-driven programmes which offer athlete development pathways across gymnastics disciplines.
The extension of the partnership is testament to the shared commitment to create a positive culture and experience centred around wellbeing and protection, allowing gymnasts and coaches to thrive and aspire to world-class performance.

Scottish Gymnastics chief executive officer Doc McKelvey said:
“Our vision is an uplifting gymnastics experience for all and providing appropriate, quality clothing for our national and region teams is an important part of that, ensuring they look and feel comfortable when they step out to represent Scotland. Kukri Sports is an integral part of that experience, and we are delighted to continue our partnership with them. This allows us to have a range of leisure kit which is suitable for gymnasts of all ages, coaches and support staff. We look forward to working together over the next four years.”

Kukri Sports sales director Josh Beal added:
“We are really proud to extend our partnership with Scottish Gymnastics. Having worked together since 2018 we have formed a fantastic relationship which we will grow further until at least 2026. Kukri are working on new ranges and designs, alongside Scottish Gymnastics, and we can’t wait to showcase this to all gymnasts in Scotland.”

Kukri Sports are a global sportswear supplier offering superior quality bespoke garments, across multiple sports, from grassroots to elite level. To find out how we can support your sportswear needs Contact Us

About Scottish Gymnastics:
Scottish Gymnastics is the national governing body of gymnastics in Scotland. Their vision is an uplifting gymnastics experience for all, with shared values of inclusive, supportive, and aspirational to ensure gymnastics is enjoyable, safe, and open to everyone. The organisation has a membership of around 160 clubs and 30,000 gymnasts, coaches and officials. They are responsible for the governance and development of gymnastics across Scotland, supported by principal funding partner sportscotland and their other partners.

Supporting Youth In Sport: Wrap Up

Over the last month, Kukri Sports has been proud to have placed a spotlight on the accomplishments of young, talented athletes across a wide range of sports.

The campaign aimed to provide a platform for these rising stars to showcase their skills, dedication to their sport, inspire others, and pave the way for their future success.

Among the remarkable stories during the campaign was the inspirational journey of Connie Clarke, an upcoming rugby star. Connie, who plays for one of Kukri’s rugby partners, Preston Grasshoppers, revealed how she went from nearly walking away from the sport to scoring two tries on her England Under-18s debut.

Click here to read more of our interview with Connie Clarke.

We also collaborated with British Gymnastics to speak with talented Rhythmic Gymnasts, Marfa Ekimova and Louise Christie. The pair outlined their dedication to the sport, how gymnastics has shaped their life so far and their goals for the future.

Click here to watch the full interview.

Reflecting on the campaign, Josh Beal, Sales Director at Kukri Sports, said, “Our commitment to nurturing young talent goes beyond just providing sportswear. We believe the power of sport to transform lives and communities. It has been fantastic to witness the dedication and talent of these young athletes across a wide range of sports, and we are excited to continue to play a role in their journey towards achieving success.”

Kukri Sports remains committed to its mission of empowering youth in sport beyond the campaign’s conclusion. We will continue to support young athletes through sponsorships, partnerships, and ongoing initiatives aimed at nurturing talent, fostering inclusivity, and creating opportunities for aspiring athletes to succeed.

Keep an eye out for our next campaign coming soon, which will aim to demonstrate how we provide support for para-athletes across different sports.

Kukri Sports Sales rise by 66% in Northern Ireland & The Republic of Ireland

Kukri Sports has been experiencing unprecedented success in recent years and 2022 saw regional sales hit record levels in several global territories. Our growth in Ireland has been particularly impressive across both Northern Ireland and The Republic of Ireland.

We have recently partnered with five new schools in Northern Ireland, as well as hosting collaborations with prominent sports clubs, including Omagh HC, Ballyclare HC, and Boyne HC and we have extended our netball market share with partnerships including Queen’s University and Belfast Ladies NC.

We are delighted to announce that the business has also recently extended its partnership with Blackrock College, a prominent education institution with an enviable reputation, based in Dublin. As part of the deal, Kukri will continue to be the exclusive supplier of sportswear for both students and staff at the college. Find out more about Blackrock College.

“We have been delighted with the service and quality of sportswear provided by Kukri over the years and we look forward to continuing this relationship. Alan MacGinty, Principal, Blackrock College

“We are thrilled to announce the extension of our partnership with Blackrock College. The enthusiasm and dedication displayed by everyone at the college serve as a constant inspiration, and we eagerly anticipate being a part of their future successes, providing unwavering support along the way.” Neil Patterson, County Manager for N.I. and R.O.I

Coleraine Grammar School are another prestigious school we are proud to be working with and are looking forward to supporting their requirements for quality bespoke sportswear.

Moreover, many of our established partners, such as Dungannon RFC, have recently reaffirmed their commitment to Kukri Sports by signing new agreements and we are looking forward to providing them with comprehensive kit solutions both now and in the future.

Our versatility in supporting over 100 sports can be demonstrated by our support of N.I. Tug of War, N.I. Shooting team, and Disability Sport NI and our capabilities outside of the sports market are shown by the announcement of the extension of our partnerships with Armagh, Banbridge, and Craigavon Borough Council, which sees us supply customized indoor and outdoor leisurewear for their staff.

As we continuously expand our expertise and deepen our product knowledge, we are committed to sharing this wealth of information with our valued customers. We strive to constantly enhance our understanding and stay up to date with the latest developments in our field. By doing so we can offer even more comprehensive and insightful assistance to all our customers, ensuring they benefit from our expanding knowledge base as our customers in Northern Ireland and The Republic of Ireland can testify.