Its partner, Canterbury Europe, has just gone into admi' />

The Scottish Rugby Union has cancelled today's launch of a new kit for the national side.

Its partner, Canterbury Europe, has just gone into administration, only a year after agreeing a sponsorship deal worth up to four million pounds ($10.4m) that was to last until 2011.

"The Scotland shirt is among Canterbury's best sellers, which may offer some hope that the parent company in New Zealand.... may want to maintain the Scotland deal," the Glasgow Herald reported.

The newspaper said that while Canterbury had made its name in rugby, it appeared to have got into trouble in its bid to diversify, after admitting to having been "hit by tough trading and an unsuccessful' move into other sports".

Canterbury's troubles started in 1999 when Germany's Adidas AG snatched the New Zealand All Blacks from it, ending a 75-year relationship. Adidas paid the New Zealand Rugby Union an initial $200 million over nine years.

In January, the South African arm of Canterbury went belly-up, directly affecting the Springboks and Super 14 franchises; Sharks, Cheetahs and Lions. But in March Canterbury New Zealand came to the rescue with a four-year sponsorship of South Africa covering the 2009 Lions Series and the IRB Rugby World Cup in New Zealand in 2011 -- and Canterbury took over the responsibilities of the South African franchisee.

Now Scots fans are also looking to New Zealand to aid their national team.

In Europe, Canterbury last year opened its first retail outlet in Europe at the new Westfield shopping mall in west London. It said at the time that more shops were planned for the UK, Ireland and continental Europe, and that it was also planning to open in New York.

Yesterday Canterbury New Zealand said it was unaffected by the European trading arm's problems, which will see 72 of its 86 employees made redundant.

KPMG Restructuring administrator David Costley-Wood said the European company unsuccessfully tried to expand into new areas, and had been hit by the weakening British pound.

Canterbury New Zealand chief executive Scott Chapman said yesterday that despite the European arm's demise, it would be business as usual for the Australasian and remaining global operations.

A number of high profile rugby union and league teams had deals with Canterbury Europe including the Scottish national team, and the Glasgow Warriors. The company also sponsored Portsmouth Football Club.

Heineken Cup champions Leinster, London Wasps and Cardiff Blues could all potentially be looking for new kit sponsors before the start of next season. Canterbury Europe's demise also comes as a blow to Motherwell Football Club, which unveiled a four-year contract with Canterbury in February, worth an estimated £100,000 ($260,552) a season, which was due to begin at the start of the 2009-10 season.

- NZPA