The national women’s team will also have their names emblazoned on their shirts for the first time when they resume action in the World Rugby WXV top-tier tournament in New Zealand later in the year.
This follows the historic announcement earlier this month as Go.Compare became the first company in history to take the back-of-shirt sponsorship in a major, multi-year deal with the Welsh Rugby Union.
The men will wear the new kit for the first time in the opening game of the Vodafone Summer Series against England at Principality Stadium on Saturday, 5 August. They will also wear them at Twickenham the following weekend and in the final Vodafone Summer Series game ahead of the World Cup against reigning world champions South Africa at Principality Stadium on Saturday, 19 August.
Wales senior men’s team became the first northern hemisphere side to print the names of their players on their jerseys in 2005. The first game they were used was against New Zealand as part of the WRU’s 125th anniversary.
Names remained on the shirts through to the Grand Slam success of 2008, in what was the first tournament in which Warren Gatland was involved as national coach. Last autumn, Scotland, England, Japan and Italy all ‘named’ their players on their shirts for the first time
Go.Compare, founded in Newport in 2006, recently signed a major, multi-year shirt sponsorship deal with the WRU which will see its logo feature on the back of all of the WRU’s senior international and pathway teams in both the men’s and the women’s game with immediate effect. Their name will go across the shoulders, sitting above the playing number, with the name of the players featuring below the number across the small of the back.
Hannah Jones, Wales Women’s captain, said, “It’s always an honour to represent your country and the people all of us in the squad play for. To wear the jersey is always special.
“It’s something we never take for granted and the opportunity to wear the new Wales kit at the WXV in New Zealand is something all of us are looking forward to.”
Speaking at the Go.Compare announcement, WRU interim CEO Nigel Walker said, “This is a hugely significant deal for Welsh rugby, and we are grateful to Go.Compare for its most welcome support for our international and pathway teams,”
“Go.Compare has not just come to the table as a corporate sponsor, they are also investing marketing resource which will positively influence the professional game in Wales and directly encourage sustainability and success across our teams.” Plans for how the new kit will look remained top-secret after the deal was initially announced.
Lee Griffin, founder and CEO at Go.Compare, said: “Go.Compare has Wales in its DNA, so for us to be able to support Welsh rugby and its range of community initiatives is a huge privilege and we’re really proud to be involved.
“We’re also thrilled to be the first ever back-of-shirt sponsor for the senior teams – which aligns really well with Go.Compare and its history of doing things slightly differently. We have always looked at new ways to back our customers’ financial decisions and now we’re “backing” Welsh rugby, a sport that well and truly runs through the heart of Wales.”
The new look kit is available to purchase from today with prices starting at £78: store.wru.co.uk