A website selling fake All Black and Super Rugby jerseys highlighted in last weekend's Herald on Sunday has been taken down - but more sites selling even cheaper rip-offs have popped up, with counterfeit All Black jerseys selling for as cheap as $20.
The Asia-based Tobeno1 online store – which offered jerseys on a website with a .co.nz URL – had been selling a range of All Black, Māori All Blacks and Super Rugby jerseys.
The website was one of two featured in a Herald on Sunday investigation last week looking at the production and sale of fake All Blacks and Warriors jerseys; with All Black knock-offs selling for as little as $38 and Warriors fakes for $26.
Last week, after our enquiries to New Zealand Rugby and adidas – the sportswear giant which has exclusive rights to produce replicas for our national and Super Rugby teams - the page had been taken down.
But in a move which highlights the battles sports bodies and licenced replica providers face targeting counterfeit gear, several other sites have been found selling unofficial gear - including some offering wholesale discounts for large-quantity purchasing.
That includes pages run by Mufasa Sports and Woaiwojiayisheng, the former of which offers a single jersey from $25.30, with the price dropping down to $20 a jersey if you buy in bulk in lots exceeding 57. The online page says it has 990 of its All Black branded jerseys in stock.
Mufasa Sports offerings include a wide range of purported All Blacks home and away replica jerseys, training jerseys and Māori All Blacks playing and training jerseys. It claims to have sold more than 1500 jerseys.
The company says its stock comes from China, and their range of counterfeit jerseys are missing the logo of adidas, the official kit supplier to New Zealand representative and Super Rugby sides.
Mufasa Sports says it offers "the most competitive price" and that it meets "every customer's needs".
However, not all reviews of its offerings are glowing, with one purchaser posting: "Don't buy from here. Poor stuff".
Woaiwojiayisheng's page says it sold more than 2596 of its jerseys. It also sells in bulk, with jerseys costing $23 when bought in quantities of more than 55.
The extra sites found by the Herald on Sunday highlight concerns previously aired by Canadian lawyer David Lipkus – who has worked with top North American sports leagues in their crackdown against fake gear – on the battle with counterfeiters.
"Every time you take down 10 or 15 sites, another 100 or 200 crop up," Lipkus told the TSN Hockey website. "It's whack-a-mole. Domains cost $5 or $10 to register. The counterfeiters are so far ahead of the game."
The Herald on Sunday could not directly contact either Mufasa Sports or Woaiwojiayisheng. And an approach to the Dhgate.com website – which carries listings for both companies – went unanswered.
Neither adidas or New Zealand Rugby would talk about the latest fake jersey listings.
But in last weekend's Herald on Sunday, adidas New Zealand country manager Quentin Bleakley said it was "very familiar", with websites selling very cheap All Black branded gear.
"There's a reason why it's cheap, the quality of fake goods is always poor and leaves Kiwis ultimately disappointed," he said.
He said adidas was "experienced in protecting our rights" and took "appropriate action" when made aware of breaches of their trademarks or rights.
Bleakley said fake products seemed "to become more prolific as World Cup year rolls around".
NZ Rugby chief operating officer Richard Thomas said "sadly it's not a new behaviour to have unscrupulous operators trying to leverage our brand and those of our sponsor partners, to peddle fake products".
He urged fans to only buy authentic product from "large-scale retailers".