Supporters will be able access pre-orders and see jerseys in shops from 20th July and will also be able to buy the traditional jersey branded with shirt sponsor Isuzu, worn at all matches outside of RWC, from this time, alongside a full range of related technical training clothing and leisurewear.
The bespoke kit incorporates a new quartered design, representing the four corners of Wales uniting together as one and inspired by the medieval coat of arms of Llywelyn the Great, the plating effect found on a suit of armour and the line ‘…my strength and shield’ from the hymn ‘Bread of Heaven’*.
These quarters are partitioned by a chevron shape which has been depicted at angles of 18.81 degrees**, a nod to the game’s heritage in Wales – with 1881 being the year the WRU was first formed – and producing a striking design element which runs through both the kit range and the look and feel of all associated WRU imagery.
The traditional red home jersey is paired with white shorts with red trim and red socks, whilst the unique ‘alternate’ kit sees Wales dress in a green inspired by the third colour of the national flag, matched with white shorts with green trim and green socks – the first time Wales will have worn all green since the 1995 RWC.
A further highly visible feature is the new ‘stitch-integrated’ WRU three-feathers badge, which appears on a red asymmetrical hexagon, or shield-shaped, background on all versions of the senior men’s and women’s international kits and is repeated on the shorts.
The WRU logo will not appear in this shielded form on any other kits in the Welsh rugby pathway, ensuring that it becomes an aspirational emblem for players as they pass through the system symbolising the highest honour achievable in the national game.
Wales will wear their new uniform against England at Twickenham on 11th August and for the first time at home in the return fixture a week later at Principality Stadium to open the Under Armour Summer Series.
Home and away clashes with Ireland, in Cardiff on Saturday 31st and in Dublin on 7th September follow before Wales board the plane for Japan and begin their 2019 RWC campaign.
“Under Armour, as our official technical partner, have collaborated with our senior international players during a rigorous design and testing process and produced an impressively technically proficient set of kits befitting of the Wales jersey’s status as a national symbol,” said a WRU spokesperson.
“The players will be the pride of Wales when they leave for Japan and we are delighted to be able to reveal the kit that will ensure they ‘look the part’ as they represent the nation on a global stage at the Rugby World Cup.
“We know they will be taken into the hearts of their hosts as well as many neutral observers alongside the ardent travelling Welsh fans and the millions watching on screens around the world.
“Together with a design steeped in history and symbolism, Under Armour have once again also produced an impressive raft of innovative, custom-made features to meet the performance needs of both our elite men’s and women’s squads and we are grateful to them for providing a uniform fit for battle for the campaigns ahead.”
The kits also feature new a custom-made Airvent ArmourGrid fabric technology, an innovative heat reduction system created specifically to keep the Welsh squad cooler and improve performance in the soaring temperatures of Japan, later this year.
Technical performance features of the kit include:
• Airvent ArmourGrid is highly breathable, lightweight and a durable woven fabric which allows sweat to be wicked away during the game
• The quick drying grid technology and mesh ventilation on the authentic jersey is strategically placed to aid heat management in the hot and humid conditions of Japan
• Airvent ArmourGrid material features on the front, back and shoulders of the new jersey, as well as on the shorts
• The mesh ventilation technology features hundreds of tiny holes to allow players to lose any unnecessary heat without sacrificing any fabric strength
• The fit is designed to cater for the rigours of the modern game with grab and grip zones reduced and excess fabric removed from the player’s shorts making for a slimmer fit
• Both kits feature a modern interpretation of the white collars featured on classic Wales kits
The new kits can be pre-ordered on Saturday 6th July and they will also be available to buy online via store.wru.co.uk and in store at the WRU Store on Westgate Street on Saturday 20th July.
Prices start at £50 youth and £70 adult for standard replica home jerseys – £55 and £75 for the RWC logo’d version – with authentic shirts (identical to those played in) priced in all styles starting at £90.
* The popular hymn ‘Bread of Heaven’ is often sung at Welsh international rugby matches both by official choirs and also spontaneously by the crowd. It carries the line ‘Be thou still my strength and shield’ (the chorus is ‘Feed me ‘til I want no more’) which was part inspiration for the new kit design. The line also reflects the principles of preparation, hard work, fitness and defence associated with the Wales side, as well as the extra level of support the team acquires when playing in front of a passionate Welsh crowd.
** Each chevron line is set at 18.81 degrees from the horizontal at the point at which it rises from the centre of the chest. Derived from the Old French word ‘chevron’ meaning rafter, it often signifies protection in heraldic imagery. Chevrons were commonly used on the coats of arms of those who had participated in some notable enterprise, had built churches or fortresses, or had accomplished work requiring faithful service.