The new All Blacks jersey - a tribute to history.     31 Jul 2011

The new jersey, which has been designed and tested in conjunction with several senior All Blacks including captain Richie McCaw, was unveiled for the first time when the All Blacks took the field against South Africa in their opening Investec Tri Nations match at Westpac Stadium, Wellington, tonight, Saturday 30 July.

The new strip marks the biggest changes – in technology and design – to the iconic All Blacks jersey in more than a decade.

Although the most obvious change is the white collar – which pays tribute to the legacy of the All Black legend – the entire jersey has been rebuilt from scratch, using custom-created new fabrics and ground-breaking technologies.

“It’s pretty awesome to be involved in creating a new All Blacks jersey,” says McCaw. “People all over the world recognise the jersey, and of course Kiwis feel extremely strongly about it, so to make a change to it is a big deal. This new jersey is revolutionary – but it’s still very much an All Blacks jersey. It’s still something I’m very proud to wear.”

“This is the most advanced rugby jersey in the world,” says adidas New Zealand country manager David Huggett. “It sets a new standard in comfort and performance.

“adidas and the All Blacks have been working towards this moment for more than two years. We’re thrilled to finally be able to introduce the new All Blacks jersey to New Zealand and the world.”

Huggett says the new white collar pays tribute to those teams who wore the iconic All Blacks jersey with the white collar for most of the 20th century, including the 1987 All Blacks side, one of the most successful teams in the long legacy of the All Blacks.

The technology in the 2011 jersey is so advanced that there is only one machine in the world that is capable of making it – and adidas has secured the exclusive rights to it. This machine made it possible for the torso of the jersey to be created as an anatomically shaped tube, ensuring a perfect seamless fit.

The 2011 jersey is 50 per cent lighter than its predecessor, but just as strong. The revolutionary seamless manufacturing technique sets new standards in comfort and fit. And, for the first time, adidas’ patented ClimaCool technology is built into the main body of the fabric to keep players cool and dry.

Huggett adds: “It is both an honour and a great challenge for adidas to have the responsibility for creating this new All Blacks jersey in one of the most significant years in New Zealand sporting history.

“The All Blacks jersey is one of the most powerful symbols of New Zealand pride, worn by the most successful sports team in the world. It doesn’t get any bigger than that.”

The new All Blacks jersey – key fact sheet

• The new jersey has been more than two years in the making, including 18 months of testing and refining. It was created by an elite sportswear design team at adidas, with the NZRU and key All Blacks players, most notably captain Richie McCaw.
• The adidas design team effectively threw away the previous jersey and started again. Even the tiny fibres that make up the fabric were created from scratch, and the pattern of the weave was reinvented.
• The new white collar pays tribute to those teams who wore the iconic All Blacks jersey with the white collar for most of the 20th century, including the 1987 All Blacks side, one of the most successful teams in the long legacy of the All Blacks. The rest of the jersey is the blackest it’s ever been, thanks to a carefully selected colour palette and specialised construction and finishing techniques.
• adidas believes it’s the best rugby jersey in the world. It’s the lightest, ‘fastest’ and closest-fitting rugby jersey ever made:
o It’s 50 per cent lighter than the last jersey - but just as strong;
o The fabric weight depends on the different areas we have in the tube and is around 220gr per yard which makes the shirt 50 per cent lighter than the 2009 shirt coming from 360 gr to 180gr (sample size);
o Because it’s so light and aerodynamic it has less weight and drag, allowing players to go fractionally faster. At the elite level of the game, the slightest advantage can make a difference to the result.
• There’s only one machine in the world capable of making the jersey. The torso is a seamless tube, with the sleeves, neck and collar bonded onto it. It’s the first time an anatomically shaped fabric tube has been created. Most tubular garments are a perfect cylinder, but a rugby jersey needs to be wide at the shoulders and narrower at the waist. The tubular technique allowed adidas to eliminate side seams from the torso, which can create irritation, drag and weak points.
• Physics were a major consideration – the team had to calculate the pressure the jersey is exposed to, in pounds per square inch, and design a fabric and a garment to withstand it. To create this jersey, adidas pooled its knowledge from its other elite sportswear specialties, including bobsleigh suits, archery vests and football jerseys.