By Patrick Avenell

SYDNEY, NSW: The first part of Research in Motion’s (RIM) marketing strategy for its new PlayBook device has been revealed, with the Canadian handset and tablet manufacturer today announced as the official Mobile Device sponsor of the Rugby World Cup in New Zealand later this year.

This announcement follows on from RIM’s partnership with the Australian Wallabies, which was formalised last month. Here’s RIM’s managing director for Australia and New Zealand Adele Beachley.

“Rugby World Cup 2011 is an eagerly anticipated event in the Southern Hemisphere and it will be a very exciting time for rugby supporters and the people of the region,” she said. “At RIM ANZ we really wanted to join the RWC 2011 team and get behind the people of New Zealand, the hosts of this global event.”

“RIM is an international provider of smartphones, so we felt a partnership with RWC 2011, a global sporting event which will be played and watched by people from all over the world, was a great fit.

“Our innovative BlackBerry smartphones and BlackBerry apps will allow RWC 2011 officials, referees and fans worldwide to communicate instantly and stay up to date with the rugby games in New Zealand.

“I’m sure there will be much banter being exchanged between fans using BlackBerry devices all over the world.”

Beachley confirmed that RIM will use the Rugby World Cup to promote both its BlackBerry smartphones and its new PlayBook tablet.

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The chairman of the Rugby World Cup, Bernard Lapasset is delighted at this news.

“Rugby World Cup Limited is delighted that RIM’s BlackBerry brand has joined the impressive portfolio of sponsors and suppliers for Rugby World Cup 2011,” he said. “This partnership with one of the world’s most recognisable brands further enhances the enormous prestige and attraction of Rugby World Cup in the global market place.”

“We look forward to working closely with RIM to promote rugby around the world through innovative global technology solutions as the international sporting community counts down to the start of Rugby World Cup 2011.

“The tournament looks set to position rugby in new markets around the world and BlackBerry will help us reach out to new communities and audiences.”