Updated: Oct 22, 2021
Tel Aviv Heat Captain Nic Groom - Photo Credit: Daniel Halac
CiiTECH and the Tel Aviv Heat, a founder member of the Rugby Europe Super Cup have today announced a partnership which sees the global leader in cannabis healthcare become the global founder partner and sponsor of the team's playing jersey in their inaugural year. CiiTECH, which has announced its intention to be listed on the London Stock Exchange, has also acquired a minority stake in the team.
Clifton Flack, CEO of CiiTECH, which owns leading UK CBD brands Provacan, IMPACT Sports and HuGG, commented:
“We are delighted to become Tel Aviv Heat’s Global Founder Partner of . Innovation is at the core of CiiTECH’s DNA and Tel Aviv Heat was a truly innovative concept, fast tracking rugby to become a mainstream sport in Israel. This partnership is a continuation of CiiTECH’s long standing association with Rugby and Israeli Rugby in particular.”
“As we enter into our very first season, we are excited to launch a strategic partnership between the Tel Aviv Heat and CiiTECH. Both are committed to the core values of innovation, creativity, adaptability and striving for excellence through hard work. We are proud to have CiiTECH on the front of our jerseys and look forward to growing together in the years to come.” says Pete Sickle, Tel Aviv Heat CEO.
In addition to the Israel national team, the new franchise competing in the Super Cup will boost the profile of rugby within Israel. The tournament is hosted by Rugby Europe and was created to help emerging rugby nations gain valuable professional experience to elevate their skill levels and compete against stronger nations on the rugby pyramid. The Rugby Europe Super Cup launched this year with eight teams, with plans to expand to 16 teams by 2025.
What makes this new endeavor especially exciting is the diversity of the team. Young and established players from all over the world, including Fiji, South Africa, Israel and the UK, have joined this opportunity to shine and become part of this unique experience. Israel is the startup nation and the team is very much a startup, creating opportunities to play for an emerging International team. Players with elite skills and experience have been drawn to the Heat not for financial gain, but to have a chance to shine and be involved in something totally unique.
Shahar Bartal, Tel Aviv Heat’s Chief Marketing Officer said, “The selection of the Tel Aviv Heat to compete in the inaugural season of the Rugby Europe Super Cup marks a watershed moment in Israeli team sports, elevating Israeli athletes to compete on a regular basis with world-class players who have represented their countries in Rugby World Cups."
Kevin Musikanth, Head Coach of the Israeli National Rugby team with over 20 years coaching experience, has been appointed Director of Rugby at the Tel Aviv Heat. “As the first pro rugby team out of Israel, the Tel Aviv Heat provides a professional platform with international mentors, providing a pathway for Israeli players to see a future in this great sport. With the shared vision and support of CiiTECH, the Tel Aviv Heat is certain to succeed on the field as well as off the field within our development program. Huge thanks to Clifton and the CiiTECH team for jumping on board.”
Having recruited Kevin Musikanth, the team signed possibly one of its most important recruits, Nicholas Groom, a former Barbarian with more than 10 years’ experience in the professional game, to be leader and captain on the field.
"He is a fantastic person that is a clear thinker both on and off the field and once he had signed with our team was the obvious leader for our first season. We are fortunate to have him as our captain and I look forward to working closely with him in the future." says Kevin Musikanth on Nicholas Groom.
Another key signing is 22 year-old Sebastiaan Jobb who recently represented South Africa at U20 level and brings with him a mixture of flair, skills and pace that you'll struggle to find elsewhere.
Joining Groom and Jobb in the backline is Gabriel Ibitoye, an impressive attacking wing and center who scored scintillating tries in multiple seasons with the Harlequins, helped England reach the finals of the World Rugby U20 Championship in both 2017 and 2018, and led them to a Grand Slam title in the U20 6 Nations in 2017.
CiiTECH is renowned for its cannabis expertise, which is developed through partnerships with leading researchers, tech companies, and academic institutions. As a result, the company's brands and its services have a cutting edge on the cannabis market.
"We’re excited to be a global partner for Tel-Aviv Heat, strengthening our Rugby relationships and providing a platform to further research and understand the benefits of CBD in high-impact sports" says Clifton Flack, CEO of CiiTECH.
Tel Aviv Heat’s first game will be played against the Black Lion’s on 16/10/2021 at the Avchala Rugby Stadium, Tbilisi, Georgia at 13:00 UTC (17:00 Local).
Link for live stream: https://www.rugbyeurope.eu/