Hosts kitted out for World Cup
England will enter the home World Cup armed with a new jersey they claim is their most innovative yet.
The kit for England 2015 was unveiled at a glitzy presentation at Twickenham, the setting for all but one of the team's matches at the global showpiece which kicks off against Fiji on September 18.
Four price points of £120, £70, £60 and £55 have been set for the men's shirt - although the £120 jersey is a commemorative Test edition of which only 2,015 are available - while the junior size costs £50.
The change strip is red, with England stating that more than 220 hours of testing and over 250,000 miles of travel have gone into perfecting the design, which features the addition of a red rose that has been 3D injection-moulded.
Other innovations include contoured ball-deadening grip placement to enhance physique and position-specific fit developed through 3D body-mapping technology. Makers Canterbury insist that it is their lightest kit to date.
The new shirts lift the number of England kits released over the last 10 months to six and the Rugby Football Union has already been accused by fans of seeking to profiteer from the World Cup.
However, the RFU points out that all branding from its regular jersey had to be removed in compliance with World Cup regulations, resulting in the release of two of the kits.
The £50 cost of the junior jersey is also sure to attract criticism, although the figure is around the market standard when compared to the equivalent for the England football team.
Speaking at the 100 days to go until England 2015 event at Twickenham on June 10, RFU chief executive Ian Ritchie defended the cost of the shirts.
"The higher priced shirt is a special, different, commemorative model for the World Cup. The routine shirt, if I can put it that way, is normally priced," Ritchie said.
"We have had to bring out different shirts for the World Cup. It's wrong to look at a special edition shirt and compare that to the routine shirt, which I think is in the normal area.
"People will buy them if they want to buy them. If nobody wants to buy the one at £120 that is the call of the consumer.
"Nobody is forcing anybody to buy it, but we think it is a very special shirt. All the funds from it go back into the game."
The symbols of the Victoria Cross that were present on the rubber grip areas of the previous jersey have been removed. The inclusion of the imagery of the military medal caused controversy when the shirt was unveiled last September.
"I saw a lot of correspondence from the medal associations that didn't have any problem with it," Ritchie said.
"There were statements put out afterwards that said they didn't see any issues with it. We worked closely with them and they put out statements."
England captain Chris Robshaw was among the players to model the new kit at Twickenham on Monday morning.
"It's truly an honour to have the World Cup shirt on. Over the last three and a half, four years there's been a lot spoken about the tournament," Robshaw said.
"Of course a lot of rugby is judged on the World Cup and those are the games that people remember. To be part of one in England puts us in an extremely privileged position."