New Jersey Unveiled By Welsh Rugby's Finest
The Welsh Rugby Union today, Wednesday 8 September, unveiled its new national team kit for the 2010 / 2011 season featuring, for the first time, the logo of new shirt sponsor and official partner Admiral.
The Wales international rugby squad kit has been designed, produced and manufactured by American performance sports clothing giant Under Armour since 2008.
This latest range retains the traditional red and white colours for the home strip, losing the green piping of last year's jersey and significantly increasing the size of the white flashes around the arms and ribs as well as featuring white shorts and socks.
The away kit undergoes a complete change with the gold colour of recent seasons gone to be replaced by a predominantly blue design with red flashes and white piping running through the jersey and shorts, with blue socks.
A new clothing range including the match kit was revealed at the Millennium Stadium and modelled in person by a number of current international players including Ryan Jones, Shane Williams, Jamie Roberts and James Hook, alongside images from a new marketing campaign which features well known Welsh rugby star Gavin Henson.
In pictures which will be recognised around the world Henson adorned the side of the iconic Millennium Stadium wearing the new home kit in its entirety, with the WRU sending the message to fans that this is a jersey for everyone.
A marketing campaign carrying this theme and featuring Henson and a host of other stars of past and present, including back row legend Scott Quinnell, will be rolled out in the coming weeks.
The full range of kit is on sale from today in each of the 64 official WRU retailers around Wales and the UK, with the jersey available in 'authentic' – made to the exact specification as the jerseys worn by the players – and the looser fitting 'replica' styles. (Prices range from £79.99 for the high spec 'authentic' jersey to £49.99 for the 'replica' with junior, infant and women's products also available and priced accordingly).
"Firstly I'd like to thank Admiral for their support, it is a privilege for Welsh rugby to have such a major international company on our jerseys and our gratitude also goes out to Under Armour for all the hard work and expertise which has gone into their latest high quality product," said WRU Group Chief Executive Roger Lewis.
"The new jersey keeps all of the technical specifications offered by Under Armour in recent seasons and offers a few more to ensure our players get the very best performance advantages available when match day comes.
"But just as importantly for our national sport the traditional colours will be appreciated and look great on the players and the fans alike and that is part of the thinking behind asking Gavin to help out with our ad campaign – we were looking for a model and he seemed to fit the bill!
"Warren Gatland often tells his players that they have a responsibility to the Wales jersey, it is not theirs to own, rather, they are looking after it for the players who will come in the future and out of respect for those that have worn it in the past.
"We have taken on that idea and are trying to point out with this campaign that our jersey is owned by the nation, not just the individuals who wear it out on the pitch at any given time.
"Everyone in Welsh rugby is first and foremost a fan, we watch it, play it and work within its structure out of our love for the game and the national jersey is symbolic of our pride.
"The players, past, present and future are fans too, just as much as the journalists, the commentators, and the people out there who come along to the matches or watch them on their television sets.
"Every Welsh fan has a right to own and wear the national jersey with pride, just like Gavin does in our images, and we have also asked other significant stars of Welsh rugby's past and present to join our campaign.
"Whether you are a current or recent player, a legend of the game or someone with still more to offer Welsh rugby for years to come, there is one thing that unites you and us all in Wales and that is our love for the game and our pride in this jersey.
"Even the people at the very heart of the game can be described as supporters and Gavin was more than pleased to wear the jersey with pride once again when we asked him - just as many thousands of fans will in the months ahead as we begin our Rugby World Cup season in earnest this November."
The home jersey design is inspired by the colours worn by the 1950 Grand Slam winning side. It features a plaited construction, for ultimate moisture transport, adhesive grip and bind zones, high durability and ultra-violet protection and is a full 20% lighter than its 2008 incarnation.
Both the home and away jerseys carry a unique inscription in Welsh on the back of the collar, chosen in consultation with the national squad. 'Dal Dy Dir' features on the red kit, meaning 'stand your ground' and 'Balchder' meaning 'pride' figures on the blue away version.
"Under Armour is thrilled to introduce our second generation kit for the Welsh Rugby Union," said Blair Tripodi, Senior Director of Under Armour Europe.
"Our product development team used the last two years to test and improve upon what is already a great rugby and technology product-story; their efforts delivered an excellent representation of Under Armour quality and performance.
"The rigors of the Welsh game demand nothing but the best; we aspire to provide them with the best our company has to offer and no distractions come match day."
The new kit will be seen in action for the first time when Wales take on Australia at the Millennium Stadium this November, when the new Admiral logo will make its Millennium Stadium debut.
Admiral Group, the Wales based public listed insurance company – the only FTSE 100 company with Welsh headquarters - agreed a three year deal with the WRU in March 2010 and have been in consultation with the Union and Under Armour about the look of the new jersey since that time.
Admiral, which originated in Cardiff in 1993, but is now a global force and Wales' highest valued public company, actually allowed the WRU to slightly change the colours of the logo used on the jerseys – which was already red and blue – to exactly match the tones of those used in the kit, to ensure the logo looks its best when it's emblazoned across the chests of Wales' finest rugby stars.
"I'm sure Admiral's employees are as excited as I am to see the Admiral logo displayed on the shirts. I look forward to seeing the team wearing the new kit when they run out in the autumn internationals. It would be great if they could mark the occasion with a win against Australia when they wear it for the first time." said Admiral Group chief executive, Henry Engelhardt.
Retail outlets throughout the UK will be selling the jerseys and a full range of Wales kit from today with all products also available online at www.wru.co.uk/shop.
Gavin Henson added: "When the Welsh Rugby Union asked me to be one of the first to put on the new kit to help with their marketing campaign I had no hesitation. As a passionate Welshman I have always felt a great sense of pride whenever I have had the privilege of being able to wear the national jersey and this occasion was no different."