WARRINGTON Wolves forward Joe Philbin is hoping to help develop the next generation of rugby stars by sponsoring his junior club.

The academy graduate is supporting Culcheth Eagles, where he was first introduced to rugby, through his new sportswear business Gripz – which was set up during the first coronavirus lockdown.

Warrington Guardian:

Along with his friend and business partner Jack Hodgkiss, the 26-year-old prop has developed ‘innovative’ sports socks which already have been worn by top athletes from around the world – including American footballer Corbin Kaufusi, Warrington-born basketballer Jordan Whelan and Philbin’s Wire teammate Blake Austin.

Household names who played in the latest annual Soccer Aid charity football match also sported pairs.

Jack said; “Gripz has sponsored Joe’s boyhood team Culcheth Eagles, where he started out his career.

“The t-shirts have been handed out to the kids ready for the restart of the season, which is hopefully not too far off.

“We are buzzing to be able to give something back to the club that introduced Joe to rugby.

“He regularly goes down to the club to give pep talks to the lads, so they were buzzing when his company sponsored them.”

Gripz is also donating part of its proceeds back to amateur clubs who buy its products.

Jack added: “We are not just giving back to Culcheth Eagles either.

“So far, four clubs have taken advantage of the 20 per cent back scheme we have created.

“When amateur teams place team orders, we donate 20 per back into the team or club to help them with vital training equipment or floodlit training sessions throughout the winter.

“We have always said our main aim with this company is to put back into grassroots sport and help the new generation to come through and reach the heights that Joe has had for both club and country.”