Cape Town - The new ASICS-designed and manufactured Springbok jersey for the 2015 Rugby World Cup was launched at a glittering event in Cape Town on Thursday, with the 100 day mark to the start of the global showpiece fast approaching.
The launch of the iconic jersey is the culmination of months of hard work by scientists at the ASICS Institute of Sport Science in Kobe, Japan, in collaboration with the South African Rugby Union (SARU).
Jean de Villiers, Tendai Mtawarira, Eben Etzebeth, Bismarck du Plessis, Duane Vermeulen, Willie le Roux, Cornal Hendricks and Pat Lambie took part in an extensive testing programme in Japan to fine tune the final product. They were accompanied by Springbok coach Heyneke Meyer and other members of the management team.
The main aims in the design of the Springboks’ apparel were to reduce weight without compromising on strength. The jersey for the World Cup will be the lightest ever worn by South Africa, at 70 grams lighter than any previous jersey.
It also has smooth surface making it harder than ever before to keep hold of in the tackle, while an area which has seen significant development after player insight is the Super-Grip silicone which features on the chest of the jersey.
“The road to England for the Rugby World Cup is a long one, and planning for it started a long time ago,” said Jurie Roux, SARU CEO.
“You can be sure that no stone has been left unturned by South African Rugby in the Springbok campaign.
“But today we unveil the first, and one of the most critical elements of that process - our new ASICS-designed Springbok Rugby World Cup jersey. We know our supporters have been dying to get their hands on it.
“But this isn’t just a new variation on a traditional theme of green and gold. It is a meticulously designed and engineered jersey to give the Springboks the blend of comfort and performance to give them the edge on the field.
“Every detail is designed to benefit the wearer’s performance - because that is ASICS’ main driver and a key consideration when we formed our partnership.”
Alistair Cameron, CEO of ASICS Europe B.V., said they had put in hundreds of hours of hard work and meticulous planning to ensure the Springboks have a competitive edge at the Rugby World Cup.
“We are passionate about preparation and performance, as success is not an accident,” said Cameron.
“We have collected data and insights from the Springboks and created products that actively enhance their performance. Together with the South African Rugby Union we have developed a kit which will help the Springboks in their ultimate aim of lifting and keeping the Webb Ellis Cup.”
Springbok captain Jean de Villiers said: “If we can bottle the atmosphere and enthusiasm from this launch, then we’ll start the Rugby World Cup on a very positive note. We’re amazed at the level of detail and research that ASICS has put into creating the kit, which reflects the detail we put into our own preparation.”
The Springboks Rugby World Cup replica apparel will be available countrywide at all leading sports retailers from June 5, 2015. For more information visit www.asics.co.za
Technical detail – Jersey
The Springbok rugby jersey features three key areas of technical updates which bring a new level of detail to rugby jerseys. ASICS understand the needs of rugby players and has developed technologies aimed at improving performance.
Every aspect of the Springbok jersey has been designed with the aim of reducing weight without compromising on strength. The jersey made by ASICS will be the lightest jersey ever worn at a Rugby World Cup by the Springboks. At 70 grams lighter than any previous rugby jersey it allows the players to play with freedom and reduces fatigue, with small margins making big differences.
Featuring two combined materials ASICS has created a jersey with high tensile strength and a smooth surface making it harder than ever before to keep hold of in the tackle. The mechanical weave is designed to stretch, allowing players to bind to each other, but it also ‘snaps back’ quickly making it hard for players to grip in the tackle.
An area which has seen significant development after player insight is the Super-Grip silicone which features on the chest of the jersey. The grip is graduated down the ribcage rather than being high on the chest. Having graduated grip keeps weight down whilst also ensuring critical areas used for protecting the ball when running and catching maintain the most grip.
The reduced grip also has the effect of improving the breathability in a key area of the shirt, something which benefits the players throughout the duration of a high intensity test match.
The hexagon shapes featured on the jersey provide the most points of contact with the ball, an important part of creating the best grip.
By repositioning the grip lower on the ribcage the players also feel a benefit in binding onto one another in scrum and maul situations.
The level of detail from ASICS has been extended across the jersey with the old woven logos making way for 3D badging and hot melt technology. The addition of 3D badging has a significant effect on the weight of the shirt, while also improving the visibility of the Springboks logo on TV.
Technical detail – Socks
ASICS introduced graduated compression socks into the Springboks apparel at the first launch. With the knowledge developed from running products ASICS saw a clear performance benefit in bringing graduated compression socks to rugby.
However, after working with players to gain their insight the socks have been improved with a cotton footbed that improves the traction of the foot on the boot.
The socks work to improve blood flow, this alleviates fatigue, allowing players to play harder for longer as well as aiding recovery post-game.
ASICS socks also feature a moisture wicking yarn improving comfort and nano-glide technology in the heel and toe to stop blisters.