Adam Reynolds in the Sharks V Rabbitohs final game of the Auckland 9s at Eden Park. Pic by Robb Cox © NRL Photos

The NRL Auckland Nines event received a huge boost today with leading engineering and infrastructure group Downer taking over as the 2016 Nines naming rights sponsor.

Duco Events said the new partnership would go a long way to ensuring next month’s event is a major success.

Downer agreed to take over the top sponsorship role following the end of Duco’s partnership with electronics retailer, Dick Smith.

The multi-award winning tournament will now be known as the Downer NRL Auckland Nines and will be played on February 6th and 7th at Eden Park.

The Rabbitohs are the defending champions at this year’s Downer NRL Auckland Nines, having defeated the Sharks in extra time in the 2015 Nines Grand Final.

The Rabbitohs will be wearing a special Auckland Nines jersey as they attempt to defend their Nines crown. Click here to pre-order your Rabbitohs 2016 Auckland Nines jersey now!

Downer has a long history in both Australia and New Zealand, dating back more than a century, and is now a Top-100 company on the Australian Securities Exchange.

Downer provides comprehensive services to customers in markets including transport, rail, mining, utilities, technology and communications, and engineering, construction and maintenance. Downer employs about 20,000 people and operates primarily in Australia and New Zealand but also in the Asia-Pacific region, South America and Southern Africa.

Martin Snedden, Duco Events Chief Executive, in announcing the sponsorship agreement, said: “It is tremendous to be in a position today to announce Downer as the 2016 Nines naming rights sponsor.

“Being a highly respected and successful business throughout both Australia and New Zealand, they are a great fit with the Nines.”

In the space of just two years, the Nines has earned a reputation as an event where the stars turn up to play and has been a landmark event on the Auckland landscape.

Organisers are again predicting a bumper Eden Park crowd with tickets starting from NZ$69 still available.