The SA Rugby Union (Saru) has announced a six-year sponsorship deal with one of the world’s leading suppliers of running shoes and kit.
Japan-based Asics will provide kit and apparel to the Springboks from January 2014 until the end of December 2019, the year the World Cup will be held for the first time in the Far East.
The deal also covers all Saru’s national teams, including the women’s and age-group teams, and their referees.
“It’s just a tremendous coincidence that the World Cup is being held in Japan in 2019, but it fits in nicely,” Asics Europe, Middle East and Africa president and CEO Alistair Cameron said in Fourways today.
“If the World Cup were being held anywhere in the world, we would still be behind rugby and believe the Springboks can expose our brand better than anyone else.
“We’re serious about becoming the global leaders in rugby performance products … Our priority and our long-term strategy is to reinvent the game of rugby on the field with our technology.”
Thanks to the research and development of new materials at their Institute of Sports Science, the Springboks will go into the 2015 World Cup in London with compression fabrics to improve blood circulation, high-tech laser-cut ventilation, ergonomic design and recycled materials.
“We have promised to deliver for the 2015 World Cup all our motion muscle expertise that helps with breathing and we already make the fastest running shoes in the world,” Cameron said.
Saru CEO Jurie Roux was in a celebratory mood at the announcement.
“This is a super-exciting time for South African rugby and the marriage of two great brands,” said Roux.
“At international level you want that extra 1%, because the top four or five teams all have good players and coaches and they’re all fit. Those one-percenters are what you need, and the Springboks will now have purpose-designed clothing and apparel and it will probably go as far as individually specific jerseys.”
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