England unveil latest hi-tech kit
August 1, 2011
England's kit for this year's Rugby World Cup © Getty Images
England have officially unveiled their new playing kit and the controversial all-black change strip.
The new white kit will be worn for the first time when England kick off their Rugby World Cup warm-up clashes against Wales in Cardiff on August 13 and again against Ireland at the Aviva Stadium in Dublin on August 27. The new change kit will be worn for the first time when England play Wales at Twickenham this Saturday and again against Argentina in their World Cup showdown in Dunedin on September 10 due to a clash with the light blue and white of the Pumas.
The shirts, that will retail at £90 for the authentic version and £50 for the replica, have been produced by long-term partner Nike who claim every element of the playing kit has been "tailored and improved to reflect player feedback" from past seasons to make this the "most complete England Rugby kit to date".
England's Chris Ashton, who scored a magnificent try when England beat Australia in their grey change kit last November, laughed off the controversy surrounding their latest change strip. "You are more worried about playing for your country than what colour kit you are wearing. If we played in pyjamas it wouldn't bother me," said the Northampton wing. "The grey one worked well - we played well in it - let's hope it is the same with the black one."
According to the manufacturers, "The tight-fitting playing shirt is made of Nike Dri FIT fabric - a technology engineered to provide sweat management for athletes, pulling moisture away from the body to optimize player temperature and help them keep them cool and dry. All materials are strength-tested at Loughborough University to ensure they remain strong but flexible on game day to prevent tearing.
"Based on player feedback, the collar has elastic within the neckline for the first time, keeping the neckline as close to the body as possible to help prevent shirt pulling whilst providing comfort. There is also a silicone gripper at the hemline of the playing shirt to help keep it tucked in and close to the body. The silicone hem features the word England in its design.
"The clean white home shirt design features a subtle matt/gloss white check pattern on the front panel of the shirt whilst the change shirt has a matt/gloss black check in the same area.
"The gripper panels on the shirt, to give players more control of the ball are now across the shoulders, pectoral area and stomach area of the shirt and arranged in a check pattern. The iconic rose emblem is made from Nike Considered (recycled) yarn and heat-applied to the shirt to avoid puncturing and weakening the fabric.
"For the first time the shorts feature a new flock hand dry print to help players keep hands dry during games. And the socks, which feature support material for the first time, have a no-contact toe seam and enhanced fit footbed to reduce blisters and improve comfort."
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
The tone was set early on in Dublin as a more clinical Ireland made England pay. All is not lost, however, argues Phil Vickery
Monday Maul takes in retirement talk, England reshuffles, France's unfair advantage and Scotland's communication breakdown
John Griffiths takes an analytical look at Week 3 of ESPN Scrum's Fantasy Rugby game - who should you have picked?
Ireland coach Joe Schmidt won the tactical battle and set his team on course for a shot at the Grand Slam. Tom Hamilton reports from Dublin