Wales will sport a new body-fitting style jersey, designed by Reebok for optimum performance, when they face New Zealand, Australia, The Pacific Islands and Canada in the Invesco Perpetual Series at Millennium Stadium in November and for the 2007 RBS 6 Nations Championship.
"Senior players have been consulted throughout the process of choosing this new design and have put the shirts through a series of wear tests over the last year until we finally decided on these 'second skin' shirts complete with improved performance technology," said Head of Group Commercial and Business Development Rupert Moon. "The main difference people will notice is the tight-fitting nature of the shirt which was a key part of the feedback we received from players.
"Someone like Gareth Thomas, for example, was wearing a small man's jersey to play in last season in order to achieve the closeness of fit he was after, the difference now is that the close fit is a part of the design so Alfie, at 6ft 2in, will get the fit he is looking for from a larger sized jersey."
The pro-spec shirt is available in Adult and Junior sizes at £70 and £50 exclusively online at www.wru.co.uk/shop until 21st September when it will hit high street stores. This shirt, which is exactly the same specification as the ones worn by players on a matchday, is recognised by its classic performance crew neck design which offers increased comfort and reduced grabbing/tackling points.
Reebok have also produced a more traditional style replica jersey, also now available to order from the WRU Online Shop and priced at £50 Adult, £35 Junior and £28 Infant. The design of this shirt differs slightly with a grand-dad collar and a more generous fit.
'The shirts went on sale online on Monday and are already selling at a rate of over 100 a day," said Moon. "The Wales Shirt is one of the top selling products in world rugby and we expect this version to fly off the shelves in a similar way.
"There is also a new style away jersey to look forward to in October and we hope that the distinctive look of this new jersey proves to be just as popular with the fans as it already is with the players."
Wales shirt sponsor Brains has used the launch of the new jersey to change the logo on the shirt to 'Brains beer'. Richard Davies, Sales & Marketing Director for Brains said: "Our sponsorship of the Welsh rugby team has given a real boost to awareness of the Brains brand throughout the UK and further afield.
"We have the opportunity now, with the launch of a new shirt, for a fresh look to the sponsorship. Our wider marketing strategy is to focus more on our product range, with recent campaigns for Brains Smooth Extra Cold and Brains SA.
"Our continued expansion outside of the principality has also needed a more focused product communication to ensure that these markets continue to grow and new markets develop. It gives us great pride to continue our support for Welsh rugby in this way, and we are sure that this new look shirt will be a winner for the players and fans alike."
The New Wales Home Shirt - The Facts:
- 100% Poly Stretch PBT Fabric for total ease of movement and flexibility
- Engineered athletic fit for reduced grabbing and total comfort
- Panels with raised fabric structure for increased protection
- Classic performance crew neck design for increased comfort and reduced grabbing / tackling points
- WRU feather body map design in back panel for increased breathability and authentic WRU signature
- Lightweight logo applications, non abrasive and total comfort
- Distinctive curved piping RBK performance design DNA