The All Blacks have celebrate the arrival of the British & Irish Lions in New Zealand by revealing a Special Edition Tour Jersey that the reigning world champions will wear for next month’s three-test series against the famous touring side.
The jersey marks the culmination of Adidas’ celebration of the Lions arrival in New Zealand, which has so far comprised special edition jerseys for each of the Super Rugby teams, and a brand new training jersey.
The most striking feature of the new Tour Jersey is the unique crest on the left breast. Here the classic silver fern has been framed in a black shield, with the dates 1904 and 2017 above and below the badge respectively.
The two dates refer to the first time the Lions toured New Zealand, and of course, the date of this year’s tour, but we suspect the shield’s shape, so similar to the classic Lions crest, might be another subtle nod to the tourists.
But that’s not all that sets this shirt apart from the new home shirt that was revealed last September, which the All Blacks will return to wearing after the Lions Series is over.
The famous silver fern is clearly the inspiration for this shirt, and sublimated throughout the design is a tonal abstract fern pattern. It’s subtle, but very modern, and makes this shirt feel very different to Adidas’ usually visually restrained All Blacks designs.
Asides from that, it’s very similar to the regular shirt, down to the distinctive ergonomic collar design. That said, some feedback has clearly been taken on board, as the shirt has had vented mesh panels added under the sleeves for improved breathability.
The Lions tour is a huge event for New Zealand rugby – some have even said it’s more important to fans and players than a World Cup. With that in mind, a special occasion deserves a special and outside the box jersey, and that’s exactly what Adidas has delivered here.