Sportswear company Canterbury have held their hand up and apologised after their recent Ireland rugby jersey launch caused offence with supporters of the women’s team. 

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While resources and ideas were thrown behind the launch of the men’s jersey on August 20, with players from Andy Farrell’s Test team such as Bundee Aki modelling the new shirt, Canterbury took a shortcut when it came to promoting the women’s version. 

Rather than organise for players from Adam Griggs’ squad to be involved in the launch, Canterbury used models to show off the new jerseys, a decision that proved unpopular in a climate where women’s sport in Ireland has been growing awareness in the last year with a nationwide 20×20 campaign.

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England forward Courtney Lawes guests on All Access, the RugbyPass interview series hosted by Jim Hamilton

The criticism Canterbury shipped online was widespread and it has now resulted in a grovelling apology seven days later. 

Posting a message on Twitter, Canterbury wrote: “As a brand, we believe in putting our hands up if we get something wrong. To announce that our new Ireland women’s Pro jersey was available for pre-order, we superimposed the jersey’s image onto a model to share this exciting development with our dedicated female players and fans. 

“It was always, and remains, our intention to photograph the female players in the new jersey and we remain committed to supporting the talented women in our rugby community on and off the field. 

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“While the image was primarily designed for our website, which also features male models, it has understandably caused some frustration. We accept that this was an error and apologise for any upset caused. 

“At Canterbury, we believe that rugby is for everyone and we are united by our mutual love of the game. We look forward to sharing our ‘A New Horizon’ campaign to support the launch of our Ireland women’s Pro jersey in October with the same commitment and dedication that we have for all our teams. 

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