For the first time, new All Blacks and Black Ferns jerseys are being launched together, a move Adidas says is about “celebrat[ing] the diversity and inclusion within the world of rugby”.
For the new Black Ferns jersey, New Zealand Rugby said its bespoke design reflected “a balance of fierce athleticism and femininity”.
For the first time in the Black Ferns’ 30-year history, Adidas says it's created a dedicated, bespoke design alongside the team which is "specifically tailored to accommodate the demands of the women’s game”.
Black Ferns player Chelsea Alley is thrilled with the jersey.
She told Breakfast it was great to see a recognition that women's bodies were built differently to men's bodies.
“When we put on the normal jerseys that were made for men, they are bigger on the shoulders and a lot smaller in the hips," Alley said.
"Obviously, we are a little bit opposite to that. It’s nice just to chuck something on that fits without having to stretch it in some places.”
Over the past two years, Black Ferns players took part in body-mapping sessions, material testing, and gave feedback on what they wanted in a jersey.
The Black Ferns jersey featured seams around the waist “to suit the feminine body shape", NZR said.
“The accompanying shorts are designed to allow for more free-ranging movement and comfort for the legs."
Black Ferns player Lesley Elder said she was “excited to be part of the journey towards elevating the women’s game”.
“This jersey is designed to inspire the future of our game and we cannot wait to wear it on the field and motivate the next generation of girls and women in New Zealand to pick up a rugby ball and chase their dreams.”
In the same press release this morning, NZR highlighted that a major feature of the new All Blacks match jerseys' design was being made of “super strong” Dyneema yarns that were “15 times stronger than steel”.
“The yarns are woven into the fabric to create a jersey that is both durable and lightweight.
“In addition, Dyneema yarns offer conductive properties to help with temperature regulation and offer great moisture management.”
NZR said the match jersey would be 35 per cent lighter than the previous design. It said this would provide “an improved fit without compromising on strength and is designed to react and stretch with the player as they move on the field”.
All Blacks captain Sam Cane - who's out injured at the moment - said the new jersey represented “a huge part of our nation’s heritage”.
“The jersey is iconic for us, not only in the way it looks, but also in how it supports us when we’re playing on the field," Cane said.
All Black Sam Whitelock - who's captaining the side during Cane's absence - said he was looking forward to wearing the new jersey during Saturday's Test against the Wallabies at Eden Park.