England reveal new playing kit
September 19, 2012
England captain Chris Robshaw models England's home shirt (right) while England Women skipper Katy McLean sports the change shirt (second left) © Getty Images
England have unveiled the new kits that will be worn by the senior and 7s sides this season.
The playing strips, the first produced as part of a four-year deal with manufacturers Canterbury worth a reported £20m, debuted at Drybrook RFC in Gloucestershire to underline the Rugby Football Union's desire to re-connect with the grass roots of the game.
The home shirt incorporates an all-white design complete with the iconic red rose emblem while the kit also features midnight blue socks, which return by popular demand for the first time since England's summer tour of 2007.
Head coach Stuart Lancaster also requested an exclusive piece of clothing for senior players to "represent the pride that comes from representing their country" with the result a return of the purple presentation jacket worn by England players during the 70s, 80s and early 90s. The tradition of the presentation jacket also informs the eye-catching new change kit, which is styled in regal purple with gold detailing.
The change strip bears a striking resemblance to the redcurrant strip worn by Premier League football side Arsenal during the 2005-06 season - a fact welcomed by England captain Chris Robshaw. "The colour schemes are quite similar and being an Arsenal fan I don't really mind that. It's brilliant!" he said.
The design of all the shirts, including those set to be worn by England Women and the Sevens sides, includes the slogan 'ENGLANDCONNECTED' on the inside sleeve of the shirts with English rugby's governing body keen to reaffirm their commitment to all levels of the game.
"We want to put clubs at the heart of the game, which is why for the first time we are launching the new kit at a grassroots rugby club," said Sophie Goldschmidt, the RFU's chief commercial officer. "Drybrook was selected by demonstrating what rugby means to their community.
"The England jersey is a huge source of passion and pride for our players. The new designs look fantastic and bring to life the heritage and tradition that both brands share."
The England Sevens squad will wear their new kit for the first time at the opening event of this season's HSBC World Sevens Series in Australia next month. England will wear their new home shirt for the first time against Fiji at Twickenham on November 10 with the change strip set to be used when Lancaster's side entertain Australia the following week.
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