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Gareth Thomas, Welsh rugby's 119th captain has performed his first duties in his new role by unveiling the new Brains branded replica Wales shirt - now available for pre-order purchase online.
SA Brain & Co. announced their sponsorship of the Wales team this summer, but their four-year contract began on October 01 and today was the first sighting of the one piece of clothing which will be the public image of Wales and Welsh rugby for at least the next 2 years.
Thomas, who was appointed to Welsh sport's highest office last week, has been in France working his magic at club level for Toulouse, but today he began a new era for rugby in his home country.
"The Wales captaincy role has evolved over a number of years to place a whole array of demands on the bearer," said Wales coach Mike Ruddock. "You need to have true leadership ability to go with broad shoulders, the respect of those around you, raw ability and innate tactical awareness. And that's just on the pitch!
"Off the pitch in the modern game the commercial and media aspects of the job are just as important a factor as everything else. It is fitting that Gareth's first duty as captain is to unveil the new shirt complete with our first ever Welsh company shirt sponsor in Brains and I am sure that it is with a great sense of pride that he does so."
Thomas, Wales record try scorer and already the 119th player to captain his country since James Bevan in 1881 when he took over from the injured Colin Charvis against Ireland last year, has taken to the role with relish.
"I've already spoken about what a great honour it is to be appointed as Wales captain, but it is also an honour for me today to be the first to wear the new shirt and I'd like to thank Reebok and Brains for giving me the chance," added Thomas. "As captain I know I'll have to get used to more and more of these kinds of off the field activities, but this is certainly a nice one to start with. It's good to kick it all off with the shirt which I hope to be wearing as regularly and successfully as possible over the next few years."
The shirt prices start at Â£49.99 for adults, Â£34.99 for children and Â£27.99 for infants. They are on pre-order sale now at www.wru.co.uk, by telephoning 029 20822050 and from official WRU stores at Millennium Stadium and Wood Street. The shirts will hit a Brains pub near you from 14 October, sold via a promotion linked to beer purchases, they finally go on general sale from all major outlets at the start of November, with demand expected to be high.
'It's great to see the Brains name on the most famous shirt in rugby, we're sure it's going to be a best-seller," said Stewart Dobson, group marketing manager for sponsor SA Brain & Co Ltd. "Two great Welsh traditions - a pint of Brains in a Brains pub and international rugby - have been brought together for the first time and the new Wales shirt looks fantastic.
"Fans will also be able to enjoy our famous pint in the Stadium as Brains Smooth will be fully installed by 6 November. We've got some hugely exciting plans to spread the match day atmosphere throughout our pubs and can't wait for kick off in November.'
The striking red shirt bears the name and logo of new sponsor SA Brain & Co, retains its traditional red colour but adds a full colour Welsh dragon to one collar and two white flashes to the shoulders.
A new addition to the WRU products this year, for the first time, is a top-of-the-range 'Pro-Spec' jersey - which is an exact replica of the tight fighting shirt actually worn by players on match day - with an RRP of Â£65.
"We at Reebok have always produced replica shirts that are a true reflection of what the players wear in terms of design," said UK sports marketing manager for Reebok, Gareth Davies. "The big difference in the Pro-spec shirt is that not only is it authentic in design but it also uses the same material and cut as the playing shirts.
"The shirt replicates exactly the shirt the players will wear to represent their country and, for that reason, there are no junior or women's versions. It only comes in male, adult sizes and caters for the kind of size, stature and figure you will see on the pitch with Mike Ruddock's team. We cater for every corner of the market and we still have a loose-fitting shirt which is authentic in design to the playing shirt. It has a traditional collar and is available in every shape and size from children to women and in both short and long sleeves."
WRU Group chief executive David Moffett added:
"We hope this shirt and its variations will become the endearing image of our national game in the coming seasons. This jersey will be worn by the elite players which represent our game at a national level and by the very fans that support and feed it from the roots. And for that reason it is the ultimate symbol of a bright future for Welsh rugby."
to Pre-Order online Now or Call
029 2082 2050