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Springbok | Custom designed kit | Asics official sponsor
July 2015

Custom-designed Springbok kit

“You tell us what you want in your kit. We’ll develop it for you.” This is what the Springboks were told by official sponsors ASICS. And they have delivered.

“We are unveiling one of the most critical pieces of equipment on the Road to Twickenham,” said SARU vice-president James Stoffberg of the new ASICS Springbok jersey. “This is not just another jersey,” he added. “This was meticulously designed by ASICS for each player.”

While they custom-designed the players’ kit at their Institute for Sport Science (ISS) in Kobe, Japan, ASICS will be manufacturing all the replica jerseys in South Africa, where they found an excellent partner in a KwaZulu-Natal factory, said ASICS Europe CEO Alistair Cameron. “That is our investment in local manufacturing.”

“The replica is made for the modern man, with a looser fit,” says Alistair Cameron, CEO of ASICS Europe. It has a UV treatment, which is especially important in a climate like South Africa’s, as well as a technical fabric.

“ASICS believes in Kaizen, which means continuous improvement,” Cameron continued. As implied by the title of the six-part video series on the developing of the jersey, Success is no accident, hundreds of hours of testing went into the design of the jerseys.

Eight Springboks (Jean de Villiers, Tendai Mtawarira, Eben Etzebeth, Bismarck du Plessis, Duane Vermeulen, Willie le Roux, Cornal Hendricks and Pat Lambie) spent three days at the ISS where they were measured, tested and put through their paces in order to ensure that player-specific features are incorporated to give them on-field benefits.

“We believe this is the most technically advanced jersey,” says Cameron.

For a start, the jersey is almost half the weight of last year’s (down from 250g to 180g). In doing this, however, the developers have not compromised on the strength of the jersey. It has undergone several tests, both in the lab and on the field, to make sure it will stand up to the rigorous conditions that players find themselves in during the game.

The jersey material has a slippery feel as well as a stretch quality. This is so that players can’t easily be grabbed and held. If an opponent tries to pull a Springbok down by grabbing his shirt, the shirt will allow a slight stretch, but only up to a point — when it will snap back and allow the Springbok player to escape the grasp.

This slippery material is, however, not a problem for our own players. While the Springbok players were at ISS, the developers were able to track exactly where the players need extra grip to catch the ball and to hold onto each other. The Silicone Super Grip dots are spread from the middle to the sides of the jersey — not across the chest, where extra grip would be have been applied before. This is because players tend to carry and hold the ball against their side. Similarly, when they have to lock with fellow players, they need grip on their sides. There is also a special seam down the side that helps forwards bind in the scrum. The Springboks will wear their new kit during the IRB Rugby World Cup, which will be held 18 September-31 October in England.

Sprinbok only temporary moved

Strict IRB rules about the type, size and placement of logos on all World Cup jerseys resulted in the Springbok being moved to the sleeve of the jersey. SARU has issued a statement to remind the public that the “placement of the Springbok logo on the team’s Rugby World Cup jersey [is a] temporary relocation — as well as the logo’s scaling.

“This placement only applies to World Rugby events and was first communicated by SARU in October 2010. The Springbok logo has been placed on the left sleeve of the playing jersey at all subsequent Rugby World Cup men’s women’s, Sevens and U20 tournaments. Other nations, such as Australia, also relocate their team emblem to the jersey sleeve for World Cup events.

The placement is not determined by the apparel sponsor; it is an inevitable consequence of the current regulations.”

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