"And this is a South African playing jersey…" I was like a kid in a candy store, but I totally kept it together and didn't squee until I got into the car.
Given that I was going to be in Auckland and that the Air New Zealand Cup had just started, I rang Canterbury of New Zealand to see if they wanted to talk about the current provincial jerseys and other uniform matters. Sponsorship Manager Colin Gibson said over the phone, "I don't think there'll be too much to talk about". I did very well not to laugh down the phone.
The audio of the interview is here, (marvel as I struggle to name all the Air New Zealand Cup teams – sorry Hawkes Bay and Taranaki). Don't expect hard-hitting investigative journalism (until we get talking about socks!)
In a similar way to adidas, Canterbury don't make the uniforms in isolation. The teams all pick what designs they want, the colours, the advertising. Canterbury just supply the jerseys.
Now I have said before about how I don't like the swooping collars, the generic look of the jerseys across teams and the "wallabra" (hopefully Canterbury will start using that one). But seen in real life they don't look so bad.
The Wallabra is a grip material (and is also on the arms) made of small hexagons and quite interesting and weird to touch and stretch. But not as weird as the sublimated jerseys. Colin showed me a rack of uniforms and pulled out the new Canterbury Wizards top and, holding the coat hanger in one hand, pulled the jersey with the other and everything stretched. The advertising, the logos everything and then it snapped back into shape.
The South African jersey was an interesting contrast to the All Black jersey I got to review recently. While the All Black jersey was quite thin, the Springbok jersey almost had the thickness of the old cotton jerseys but with none of the weight. It was by all accounts a completely different jersey (for a very different team).
There were two big news pieces that came out of my visit with Canterbury:
- Canterbury International has been sold for a very large sum of money (admittedly this is now old news). JD Sports, who also own Lacoste, paid almost $2b for the brand in Europe and roughly 400 stores. They also own Kooga who will be taking over the Wallabies uniforms (wither the wallabra?).
- The new Black Caps uniforms will be without the unusual "robo-boobs" across the front. I suggest buying them up now because they will be collectibles in the future.
Also why doesn't anyone care about socks?