Patrick McKendry is a rugby writer for the Herald.

Tough new All Black jersey unveiled

The wardrobe malfunction which affected All Black Sonny Bill Williams at the 2011 World Cup - a ripped jersey which forced him to change mid-pitch - is unlikely to happen from next weekend when the team wear their new strip which manufacturer adidas say is the "strongest we have ever produced".

The All Blacks, on a world record winning streak of 18 victories in a row, will take on Ireland at Chicago's Soldier Field wearing the new jersey which has been two years in the making. All Blacks captain Kieran Read was part of the testing process, along with teammates Owen Franks and Malakai Fekitoa. The jersey will be officially launched at a function in Auckland this morning.

Three replica jersey versions are available for fans to purchase, priced at $200 (RRP) for the Performance Jersey, $150 (RRP) for the traditional Replica Jersey, and $120 (RRP) for the Supporters' Jersey.

Adidas say the strength of the jersey lies in the way the fabric is digitally woven together, reducing the likelihood of ripping. This also helps to retain the jersey's shape under the physical demands of test rugby.

In addition the fabric offers a four-way stretch, giving a more personalised fit and even greater comfort.


Adidas also say they have developed a system which sits underneath the jersey and shorts - a "chassis system", which supports and strengthens posture, improving core stability.


Deborah Yeomans, Director of adidas Futures said: "In looking at the kinetic chain, which is the flow of energy through the body, we found an area we could improve to give the All Blacks a competitive advantage. We identified the area of the spine known as 'L5S1' as the key point where energy transfers between the top and bottom parts of the body. The chassis system works with the jersey to improve posture, core stability and a player's movement efficiency."

Following player feedback, the pattern of the jersey has also been re-engineered to improve the fit, preventing opposition players grabbing hold, and increasing breathability. The collar has also been changed. It is now ribbed for improved comfort and sits lower on the neck making it difficult for an opponent to grab.

The iconic silver fern is now digitally woven into the fabric.

Skipper Read said: "We look for advantages in every part of the game. The adidas team worked closely with us to design a new jersey that would help us maintain that edge and help our performance. We think it certainly does that."

- NZ Herald

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