Rugby

Brave Blossoms unveil new uniforms

by Kaz Nagatsuka

Staff Writer

The Japan Rugby Football Union revealed the new jersey for its national team, which could help the Brave Blossoms achieve a feat at the upcoming Rugby World Cup on home soil, on Thursday.

While the basic white and red design remained the same from the one from the 2015 World Cup, the jersey manufacturer, Canterbury of New Zealand Japan Inc., prepared three different types of jersey that will assist the players’ performances depending on their positions. There’s one for the front row, one for the second and back rows and the other for the backs.

The sporting apparel company previously provided two different types to the team (for the forwards and backs).

The one for the front, second and back rows gives the players who rely on durability an appropriate fitting sense as they have to tangle with opponents in scrums during games.

The backs will don a jersey that is lighter and has a silhouette that makes it harder for defenders to grab.

“First off, it feels light putting it on, giving you an appropriate fitting sense, but it doesn’t distract your moves,” speedy wing Kenki Fukuoka said at a Tokyo news conference. “I need to fully capitalize on my speed, and it’s extremely significant whether I get grabbed (by a defender) or not.

“I’d like to play a game wearing this as soon as possible.”

According to Canterbury, the jersey’s durability has improved by nine percent for the forward jerseys and eight percent for the backs compared to the uniform used in 2015. Likewise, the latest jersey is 12 percent lighter for forwards, while the backs’ jersey is seven percent lighter.

The jersey is also attached with slip resistance processing around its chest area so that the players can hold the ball and avoid a knock-on better.

“I thought it was a little too tight when I first put it on,” longtime national team hooker Shota Horie said of the new uniform. “But the chest area gives you a moderate amount of looseness.”

Canterbury said that the design concept for the new jersey is “Kabuto” — a samurai warrior helmet. The red stripes were designed with the kabuto crest as a subject.

The alternate Japan jersey is blue-colored.

The Brave Blossoms, who posted their most wins (three) at the 2015 World Cup in England have hosted a series of training camps in Miyazaki since late last month.

The jersey will make its official debut when Japan faces Fiji in the Pacific Nations Cup at Kamaishi Recovery Memorial Stadium in Iwate Prefecture on July 27.

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