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Dutch make giant strides on the rugby field with their Pro12 endeavours

For years, anyone who put rugby and Holland in the same sentence had to be a right tulip, a world-is-flat-not-round merchant. While the deft skills of Johan Cruyff, Dennis Bergkamp and Robin Van Persie mesmerise football fans, the boys in orange didn't line out for rugby.

But Rabobank has gone some way to shifting attitudes with the RaboDirect Pro12.

The Dutch online bank replaced Magners Irish Cider as title sponsor. RaboDirect's head of marketing Martin O'Leary says being a finance brand presents opportunities alcohol can't entertain. It allows them to stage master classes for 192 youngsters with club ambassadors. Mascot competitions are run for the tournament's semi-finals and final games.

Rabo prides itself on being the "straight talking" online bank with none of the baggage rivals carry. The message goes out in the stings which top 'n' tail the Pro12 ad breaks on RTE Two and TG4. An actor tells it like it is, minus the usual cliches heard in other sports interviews. The stings were created by Cawley Nea/TBWA.

Like Ronseal, Rabo boasts that it does exactly what it says on the tin.

The bank has no branch network, which helps reduce overheads. Trading terms are upfront, with no transaction fees.


As Sean Moncrieff says in the radio ads, there's no "sneaky stuff". Customers are advised to switch savings and investments if current deals are not earning enough interest.

O'Leary says personal finance management is best left to individuals. Rabo uses social media and urges its customers to make frank comments on Twitter, with no stops – which is where its Pro12 support is right now.