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RFU defends shirt strategy

The Rugby Football Union has defended itself against accusations of seeking to take financial advantage of this year's home World Cup by releasing additional England strips.

A total of six kits will have been issued over a two-year period, but this figure has been increased by the need to observe World Rugby regulations that forbid sponsors' logos from appearing on team jerseys at the global showpiece.

The England shirts on sale before the World Cup will be identical to the current kit released in September, apart from the absence of the logo.

The remaining four strips are the standard home and away editions released each year.

"We have brought out one new home and alternate strip each season for the last five years, as is normal across the sports industry," an RFU spokesman said.

"The prices have remained unchanged for three years and every penny made is invested back into the game."

Shadow minister for sport Clive Efford told the Daily Mail: "Merchandising is an important part of sport but governing bodies must be responsible and help fans and parents by showing restraint."

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