Anna Leask

Anna Leask is senior police reporter for the New Zealand Herald.

Breathe in, boys ... Carter steps aside for new breed of beefcake

New models from the All Blacks and All Blacks Sevens include (from left) Sherwin Stowers, Ben Smith, Tawera Kerr-Barlow, Gillies Kaka, Sam Whitelock, Liam Messam, Luke Romano, Tom Taylor and Tim Mikkelson.
New models from the All Blacks and All Blacks Sevens include (from left) Sherwin Stowers, Ben Smith, Tawera Kerr-Barlow, Gillies Kaka, Sam Whitelock, Liam Messam, Luke Romano, Tom Taylor and Tim Mikkelson.

Tired of seeing Dan Carter in his undies? Didn't think so.

But now, thanks to a major sponsorship deal with Jockey, you'll get to see more top rugby players showing off their modelling skills.

Jockey has announced today a three-year sponsorship deal with the All Blacks and All Blacks Sevens teams.

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The contract will see the underwear brand as the official off-field underwear sponsor of both teams.

Jockey has also announced that Carter, the original rugby poster boy, has been given the role of Jockey International Global Ambassador. He says he'll be stepping away from the camera to become a spokesman for the company.

"The timing is right for the All Blacks and All Black Sevens to take it from here," said Carter.

A marketing expert said Jockey was obviously keen to have the All Blacks' success rub off on the company and help create a bigger brand presence and more sales.

Jockey invited the Herald to the first shoot to speak to the first wave of players to hit the studio in their undies.

Not long after New Year, the players were a tad nervous about their form and the effects of Christmas excess.

All Black Ben Smith - who was with team mates Tom Taylor and Tawera Kerr-Barlow - said it was reassuring having "safety in numbers".

"It made us feel quite comfortable. It's been quite enjoyable."

Teammates Liam Messam, Luke Romano and Sam Whitelock watched on, waiting for their turn in front of the camera after the lunch break.

"It's definitely the first time I've ever done anything like this," said Whitelock. "It looks like a bit of fun. My girlfriend wants copies of the photos today for some reason, but she'll just have to wait. She's really supportive ... I was wavering a wee bit but she was one of the ones who pushed me along."

Dr Lisa McNeill, associate professor of marketing at the University of Otago, said the sponsorship was a "great fit" and probably worth millions of dollars. Jockey were trying to appeal to the mass, middle New Zealand market of males and women who purchased male underwear. "The All Blacks are the most visible celebrities in the New Zealand market."

- NZ Herald

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