An Introduction

Since 1980, we have gone from being a small UK based pioneering manufacturer of scrummaging machines, into one of the world’s leading rugby and team sport brands.

THE EARLY YEARS

Tim Francis gave birth to what became the founding product of Rhino. He was a master at Dulwich College and was in charge of rugby both there and at Tunbridge.


He was interested in the challenge of building a scrum machine, which could assist in the increasingly technical nature of forward play. By 1980 he gave up teaching and moved to Devon to develop the first prototype of ‘The Powerhouse’ – the first modern mass-produced and marketed scrum machine. This machine got its first ‘public’ outing at the Rosslyn Park Schools Sevens in March 1982 and six were sold at the tournament. Tim was then joined by his brother in law Derek de Glanville and they were supported by Rosslyn Park captain Phil Keith-Roach, who was a fellow teacher at Dulwich and an early convert to the merits of the Powerhouse.


Tim, Derek and Phil were the ‘founding fathers’ of Rhino Rugby. By January 1983 the England team were using the Powerhouse. Rhino started to get increased publicity and in March 1983, consultant surgeon to the RFU, Ian Duff, commented that the machine “should help improve the safety of scrummaging at all levels of the game”. By the end of 1983 the Powerhouse scrum machine was in use by the England squad, was selling well in South Africa and had a licensee in New Zealand selling the machine both there and in Australia.

A GROWING INFLUENCE

The biggest breakthrough for the machine in these early years came from its adoption and use by the 1984 Grand Slam Wallabies. After a very successful campaign, the Australian coach Alan Jones called the machine ‘the finest forward coaching aid ever devised’.


Following the performance of the 1984 Wallabies in utilising the Powerhouse to achieve unexpected dominance in the scrum during their Grand Slam tour, including their historic pushover try against Wales at the Arms Park, interest and orders for the machine began to pour in from all around the world and a new distributor was secured in Japan. By 1987 Rhino had began its Official Supplier status with England.


In 1988 Reg Clark, who had first contacted Tim Francis about the Powerhouse whilst playing rugby in Japan in the early 1980’s, teamed up with the legendary Andy Ripley - Rosslyn Park, England and Lions No 8 - whilst both of them were working in the City, to incorporate Rhino and effect a Business Expansion Scheme share issue. Ripley became Rhino Chairman for the next 18 years. At the 2003 Rugby World Cup, the Powerhouse machine followed England around Australia and with Phil Keith-Roach as scrum coach in the words of one commentator, “the England scrum didn’t take a backward step throughout the whole tournament”. In 2006 on Derek de Glanville’s retirement, Clark teamed up with England Rugby World Cup winning captain Martin Johnson to effect a Management Buy In of the business.

TODAY AND BEYOND

We are the world’s leading supplier of contact and technical training equipment for rugby and one of the game’s fastest growing brands.


Alongside our world leading scrum machines, contact and breakdown equipment, we offer balls, team kit, as well as performance focused sportswear for adults and juniors and mens and womens casual wear.

Rhino's technical equipment played a great supporting role in preparing us for grand slam success.

Eddie Jones

England Head Coach

Our Accolades

    Official Supplier of Training Equipment and Official Training and Supporters Ball Collection Licensee to the British & Irish Lions Tour to New Zealand in 2017 (and formerly for South Africa in 2009 and Australia in 2013).
    Official Supplier of training equipment also to the unions of Wales, South Africa, the USA, Japan and Hong Kong, France and Singapore.
    Official Licensee for Rugby World Cup 2015 for protective products
    Official Ball and Apparel Supplier to the Guinness PRO12 and have been appointed Licensees of the RBS 6 Nations Supporters Collection.
    Rhino is the Official Supplier to three legs of the HSBC World Sevens Series – the USA Sevens in Las Vegas, the HSBC Cathay Pacific Hong Kong Sevens and the Singapore Sevens.
    We are proud to be owners of Powa Products International in New Zealand who have supplied the New Zealand Rugby Union team for many years.