Designed and manufactured over an 18-month period, a group of senior All Blacks gave input into the design and performance of the jersey, including Captain Kieran Read, Beauden Barrett, Samuel Whitelock and Sonny Bill Williams.
Barrett was able to admit that the new jersey holds an edge over the previous version, though it may limit team bonding.
“This one is really comfortable, I can say that it’s more comfortable than the last one – we can actually get it on and off ourselves, whereas the previous one required a bit of teamwork.”
Barrett will have to wait a week or two before donning the new jersey, as he will miss its debut against Japan this weekend.
James Foster, VP adidas Specialist Sports said the key element of the design was the use of seamless, woven technology – an industry first for a rugby jersey. As well, the jersey construction was fully automated which aimed to provide unparalleled fit, strength and speed and was 25 percent lighter than previous designs.
Another feature sure to please All Blacks traditionalists is the return of the white collar, last seen on the All Blacks jersey between 2011 and 2014, while finer details sees 3D logos and raw, elastic cuffs in the design.
“We’re proud to deliver industry firsts, especially creating a fully automated, lightweight design for the All Blacks,” Foster said.
“We continue to strive for a fit that mirrors a ‘second skin’, suitable for all athletes across the field. We have undergone rigorous fit and performance testing with key athletes over the last 18 months and we are confident that this release will deliver the best performance yet,” he added.
“There’s no doubt that the topic on everyone’s mind will be the return of the white collar. We worked very closely with the players and New Zealand Rugby to reintroduce a well-respected and traditional element of the jersey. We’re really happy with it and hope All Blacks supporters are too.”
All Blacks Captain Kieran Read says: “I’ve been honoured to wear a few black jerseys in my career. There’s a lot of amazing work that goes into the design and we’re always excited to see where adidas takes its innovation when it comes to new technology and design. We enjoyed working alongside the adidas team to help create it and can’t wait to wear it out on the field.”
It will be in use until Rugby World Cup 2019 (when a new All Blacks jersey will be launched) and then return for the 2020 All Blacks season.
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