From a distance, it looks much the same as any All Blacks jersey.

But see it up close, and the intricate black-on-black design might just surprise you.

Paying homage to both Maori and Japanese cultures, the new-look strip tributes the legacy of players who have worn the jersey in the past and represents the younger players coming through.

As one of a select few All Blacks granted the privilege to model the new jersey at its launch this morning in Auckland, All Black halfback Aaron Smith has heaped praise over the innovative design.

"Sometimes black can be a bit boring," Smith said at the launch this morning. But they've made this jersey look primo.

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All Blacks Rieko Ioane, Sam Cane, Sonny-Bill-Williams, Aaron Smith and Anton Lienert-Brown at the jersey launch. Photo / Getty
All Blacks Rieko Ioane, Sam Cane, Sonny-Bill-Williams, Aaron Smith and Anton Lienert-Brown at the jersey launch. Photo / Getty

"The normal black jersey is always exciting for Kiwis but for them to have a bit more thought behind it with the silver fern on it, it just makes it extra special."

The jersey features a round black collar with the All Blacks logo over the heart and sponsor Adidas in the middle of the chest to accommodate the World Cup logo.

With a focus on both performance and fashion, the strip was designed by Y-3, the collaboration label between Adidas and legendary Japanese designer Yohji Yamamoto.

Modelling the blue training shirt this morning, Rieko Ioane, who looks set to play in his first Rugby World Cup, said it was exciting to see a growing link between fashion and sport.

"The gap between what athletes are wearing and high-end fashion design is getting so much closer," Ioane said.

"It's awesome having a fashion designer on board design the jersey, it looks a lot cooler and feels a lot better.

Rieko Ioane and Anton Lienert-Brown of the All Blacks model the new training jersey. Photo / Getty
Rieko Ioane and Anton Lienert-Brown of the All Blacks model the new training jersey. Photo / Getty

"From a distance, it all looks the same but when you get up close and get a feel for it, it's a lot different. It's a lot lighter, feels better on the body and looks good."

As with previous Rugby World Cup jerseys, the RWC trophy is embossed on the right sleeve acknowledging the All Blacks' Rugby World Cup successes in 1987, 2011 and 2015.

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With the 2019 event just around the corner, Smith was eager by what the coming weeks held as things start to get serious.

"I'm trying not to get too excited at the moment, just hoping I make the team and get an opportunity to wear it," Smith said.

"As a player, you just have to do what the trainer says each day and then hope you get the phone call.

"It's a World Cup, the whole thing is a big challenge but it's an exciting one if you get the opportunity so you've just got to embrace it."