PUMA has decided to stop sponsoring rugby in Europe, leaving the Irish Rugby Union team looking for a new kit provider.
The Irish Rugby Football Union (IRFU), Puma's biggest sponsorship in the sport, said the firm would continue to supply kit to cover the 2013/14 rugby season.
"With the Rugby World Cup 2015 in England, the 18-month time scale for the ongoing supply of kit allows us ample time to source a world class kit partner to replace the Puma brand," IRFU Chief Executive Philip Browne said in a joint statement with Puma.
Puma took over as manufacturer of Ireland’s rugby kit after the Grand Slam success in 2009.
Puma, whose shoes are worn by sprinter Usain Bolt and soccer player Cesc Fabregas, is trimming its product range and cutting back on less lucrative sponsorship deals to counter falling profits as part of its biggest reorganisation in 20 years.
A spokeswoman for Puma declined to comment further. The company will publish annual results on February 14.
Rugby will take centre stage in the sporting calendar from the start of February when the annual Six Nations tournament starts, featuring the top sides from the northern hemisphere.