The nine-month long wait to reveal the new Nike-designed Springbok jersey finally ended on Tuesday when the Springboks’ new Castle Lager Rugby Championship jersey was revealed.
The six-year partnership was announced in September since when the design and development of the new jersey and accompanying lifestyle collection has been kept top-secret.
The wait ended today when Nike revealed a playing kit that provides the team with the latest in innovation and design while heeding the team’s wishes to respect the traditions of the green and gold.
“The launch of a new jersey is always exciting, but the anticipation and expectancy around today has been building for months,” said Rian Oberholzer, CEO of SA Rugby.
“We are immensely proud of what Nike has provided and the feedback from the team has been great since they were kitted with the training gear recently. The new jersey honours the traditions of the Springboks in its design and construction while adding subtle nuances to set it apart. We couldn’t be happier.”
Elite players require a kit that provides comfort, durability, and support; these insights informed the design and craft of the new Springboks kit.
The jersey was engineered to serve the needs of the athlete and what the Springboks will experience on the field is a jersey that keeps them dry and cool, provides reinforcement and mobility allowing them to move with less friction.
The Nike designers worked closely with the team to design a kit that reflects the history of the team and South African culture.
The classic ‘green and gold’ jersey has been reimagined to include a traditional collar with the underside of the collar giving a nod to the South African flag. As an acknowledgment of the team’s spirit, the phrase “Stronger Forever” is inscribed on the inside collar.
The bold new alternative jersey pays homage to the local cultural through the patterned print and the colourway was inspired by and celebrates the hues of the local nature.
Ventilation mesh panels in key areas of the kit also improve performance by increasing air circulation to the players’ bodies and regulating their temperatures.
“We involved the senior team leadership group in the approval process, and they were immediately appreciative of what Nike were trying to achieve in design and construction,” said Oberholzer.
“We are looking forward to seeing the jerseys in action over the coming weeks, including the alternate jersey which will make its debut in Buenos Aires next month.”
South Africa’s other national teams will also appear in new Nike-designed apparel. The Springboks’ Rugby World Cup jersey following the same design will be unveiled next month.
Completing the collection is an assortment of lifestyle products that will serve the needs of the players off the field.
The primary and alternate jersey as well as the lifestyle collection will be available from Friday (7 July) in Nike stores and major retailers.
Munster Confirm Three New Signings
Munster Rugby and the IRFU are pleased to confirm the signing of Oli Jager from the Crusaders with the tighthead prop signing a contract until the summer of 2027.
Hooker Eoghan Clarke is rejoining Munster on a short-term contract with back three player Colm Hogan also returning on a short-term deal.
Jager will join the province in the coming weeks with his contract beginning at the start of December.
Born in London, Jager started out at Naas RFC before playing schools rugby at Newbridge College and Blackrock College. He lined out for the Ireland U18 Schools team in 2013 before moving to Canterbury in New Zealand at the age of 17.
Initially attending the Crusaders International High Performance Unit, he earned a place in the Crusaders Academy in 2014. After impressing with New Brighton RFC, he earned a place in the Canterbury squad for the Mitre 10 Cup in 2016.
Jager made his Super Rugby debut for the Crusaders in 2017 and has been a key member of their squad for the past seven years, winning seven consecutive Super Rugby titles.
Eoghan Clarke spent three years in the Munster Academy before departing for Jersey Reds in March 2021. A former Ireland U20 international, Clarke won the English Championship with Jersey Reds last season before the club went into liquidation last month.
Colm Hogan, who has lined out for Ireland U20 and Munster A in the past, played his schools rugby with Glenstal Abbey. He captained Dublin University in the AIL and also had a spell with Colomiers in the PRO D2 while studying in France.
The 26-year-old played for Leinster against Chile last year and lined out with recent Munster arrival Alex Nankivell for Tasman Mako in the NPC this year.
Images & Content from Irish Rugby & Images © Inpho Photography
Key All Black announces sabbatical to play in Japan
All Blacks captain Sam Cane will take up a sabbatical option in his New Zealand Rugby (NZR) contract in 2024 to play a season for Suntory in Japan League One.
The 31-year-old, 95-Test loose forward will miss the 2024 DHL Super Rugby Pacific season with the Chiefs, but will return to New Zealand in June to be available for selection to the All Blacks for the 2024 Steinlager Series and Rugby Championship campaign.
Cane, who is contracted to NZR through to the end of 2025, said he was looking forward to experiencing a new playing environment with Suntory and learning more about a new culture in Japan.
“When the opportunity to play for Suntory in 2024 came up it felt like the right time following the Rugby World Cup to try something new and also a great chance to continue to grow and learn in my rugby and life journey. I’m grateful to New Zealand Rugby for their support to take this opportunity.
“It wasn’t an easy decision to skip a season with the Chiefs, but I know the team is in a great place and has an incredible group of leaders in the squad and the coaching group to have a successful 2024, and I’m really pleased to be able to return in time to put my best foot forward for selection in the All Blacks.”
NZR CEO Mark Robinson said:
“Sam’s decision to take a sabbatical in 2024 has our full support and we wish him and his family all the best for their time in Japan. There are very few players who have given as much as he has to the jerseys he’s worn in his career to date and it’s a mark of his commitment to the All Blacks that he will return and make himself available for the Test season.”
Gallagher Chiefs Head Coach Clayton McMillan said:
“Sam has given everything to this team on and off the field and deserves to take this opportunity to experience something different. He is an exceptional player and influential leader who has been an integral part of the Gallagher Chiefs for many years. We wish him and his family all the best and hope they enjoy their time in Japan after a full-on year.”
Key All Black commits to Gallagher Chiefs until 2025
Dominant loose forward Luke Jacobson has extended his contract with the Gallagher Chiefs, Waikato and New Zealand Rugby until the end of 2025.
The 18-test All Black was a consistent starter for the Gallagher Chiefs this year and a key element of their outstanding DHL Super Rugby Pacific performances. He consequently went on to be named in the All Blacks squad to travel to France.
Gallagher Chiefs head coach Clayton McMillan is delighted to have Jacobson sticking around for another two seasons.
“Luke is an outstanding player; he’s a workhorse, a consistent performer and considered a real warrior within our group. Luke leads by example both on and off the field. He isnt one to waste words and prefers to let his actions speak for themself. In the absence of some senior players who have moved on, I have no doubt Luke will play an integral part providing the leadership and guidance our younger players will be looking for”.
Jacobson has impressed throughout his career, playing for the New Zealand U20s team twice and captaining them in his second season to win the 2017 U20 World Championship title. This aptitude for leadership has seen him pull on the Gallagher Chiefs captain’s armband on multiple occasions.
Waikato Rugby head coach Ross Filipo is excited about Luke extending his career with Waikato. “He is a great man and a great leader who continues to make huge contributions on and off the field and always represents the region with pride.”
Speaking on his signing Jacobson said: “I’m stoked to signing on with the Waikato, Chiefs and NZR for another two years. I love representing these teams and am very proud to be able to call myself a Waikato/Chiefs man and also and All black. I’m hungry to succeed with these teams and tick off a few unticked boxes.”
The 2024 Gallagher Chiefs squad will be named later this year ahead of assembling for pre-season training.