Innovation and tradition is at the heart of MATCH XV, the official Rugby World Cup 2015 match ball, launched by Rugby World Cup suppliers Gilbert today.
The MATCH XV will make its debut in the English Premiership and French Top 14 later this month and will be used in top level Test matches throughout the rest of 2014 and 2015, meaning the world’s best players will have plenty of competition time with the ball.
A modern classic, the MATCH XV is the latest in a succession of balls stretching back to 1995 to be engineered by the industry-leaders specifically for Rugby’s global showpiece tournament and is packed with innovation. It is also the most-tested Gilbert ball in history.
An extensive two-year development process has delivered a new surface compound to enhance grip without compromising subtlety or durability. The surface design has also been improved to enable quicker water dispersion.
Rugby World Cup Limited Chairman Bernard Lapasset said: "From the playground to the Rugby World Cup, Gilbert has been a key player in spreading Rugby enjoyment, competition and growth around the world."
"The Rugby World Cup 2015 MATCH XV ball is the pinnacle of Rugby ball evolution and we are delighted to be launching a match ball that does not just look great, but will deliver another advance in performance for players competing at our showcase event."
"Preparation is key to ensuring Rugby World Cup is a success and without question ensuring that all the teams have the best possible Rugby ball to play with is certainly one of them. We are enthused by how well the MATCH XV has been received by players and coaches.”
Gilbert Sales and Marketing Director Richard Gray added: "We are proud of our partnership with Rugby World Cup and the opportunity to provide the world’s top players with an innovative, yet evolved ball that will assist in showcasing their talents."
"With England 2015 staged in the birth country of the sport, we are also proud that the MATCH XV will celebrate the rich heritage of Rugby and Gilbert, by recognising the very first hand-crafted match balls that graced Rugby school and fields the world over from 1823."
“With its strong features of tradition and innovation, we are confident the MATCH XV will soon be recognised as a modern classic."
Official Gilbert Rugby World Cup 2015 replica match balls have been selling well online at www.rwcshop.com and in store via official outlets around the world.
MATCH XV technology briefing:
- The MATCH XV will be used extensively throughout elite Rugby for a year prior to RWC 2015. Just about every major Rugby competition in the world will be using the MATCH XV and it will have been used in international Rugby matches by at least 17 of the 20 countries participating in RWC 2015.
- By June 2015 all countries will have received direct from Gilbert a minimum of 15 RWC 2015 official MATCH XV balls.
- Gilbert are in the process of personally visiting as many national teams as possible to introduce the new ball – information briefing documents are also being sent to team managers of club and national teams to explain, in detail, the MATCH XV properties.
- Each MATCH XV to be used at RWC 2015 will be individually inspected by Gilbert and inflated to the correct pressure prior to hand over to RWC 2015 Tournament Organisers. Only these balls will be used in pre-match training and competition.
What is new?
- New surface compound: The rubber compound used to create the outer surface of the ball has been modified by the addition of several new elements. This has created a ball which is softer and more pliable feel in the hand but which is equally as durable as it predecessor. The dispersion of water over the surface of the ball is as a result enhanced and this together creates a ball with improved handling performance.
What is retained?
Continuity is key for players
- Pimple pattern: Following testing Gilbert identified that the importance of familiarity to players outweighed any benefit in modifying the pattern.
- Weight: The weight of the ball is 460 gms – evenly distributed except for valve. The MATCH XV will therefore kick the same as the previous ball,
- Shape: The MATCH XV is made with the same punching knives as the previous ball, the Virtuo and the ball before that, the Synergie. This gives a familiar shape/feel in the hand and on the foot.