- RFU launch new Canterbury kits with “England Connected” slogan on sleeve
- Four England captains discuss what it means to them with RFUtv
The RFU launched the new Canterbury England strips at Drybrook RFC in Gloucestershire and, as well as formally marking the start of new four-year relationship with the kit supplier, there was an innovative addition to the shirts.
At the request of England Head Coach Stuart Lancaster, every jersey has “England Connected” emblazoned on the inner sleeve, aimed to remind those who wear it of where they have come from and who they are representing.
Four England captains – Chris Robshaw, Katy McLean, Rob Vickerman and Michaela Staniford – were present in the Forest of Dean to showcase the new kits and after their spell on the catwalk, discussed what the slogan means to them with RFUtv.
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Harlequins skipper Robshaw, who has led the national team on seven occasions, said: “It’s great to come down and do the launch at a club in Gloucestershire and give something back to the rugby community.
“Everybody can be part of it and that’s what it’s all about, rugby being connected, and we have a reminder in the shirt that everything is connected and we should give back as much as possible. If we can inspire people too, all the better.”
England Women’s skipper McLean is enthused by the addition of the words to her shirt and said it brings back memories of when she started as a six-year-old at a local club in South Shields.
The 26-year-old fly half said: “It brings you back to when you started and for people who aspire to play for England it shows you can start at a young age, you can start at your local club and one day, with a bit of hard work, you could be wearing this shirt.
“It’s so important that people have that aspiration and they know it is achievable. It’s a brilliant idea and connects me back to my youth and the people who have looked after me and supported me.”
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England Sevens captain Vickerman aligned his thoughts on “England Connected” to the situation and atmosphere at Drybrook RFC, with the club’s “Sunday morning mentality” evoking memories of his early days playing rugby.
He said: “This club perfectly represents what I grew up with – that Sunday morning mentality of having your friends and family around you.
“It strikes a massive chord of positivity with the community, you can see that looking around. I’ve already spoken to some of the older members, they live and breathe this club and it’s great to be here.”
England Women’s Sevens captain Staniford has enjoyed a startling season in the shorter form of the game, leading Barry Maddocks’ side to three finals, winning two.
But for all the pride in her success, the slogan reminds the 25-year-old that rugby is not just about England, but the wider rugby family.
She added: “Rugby has a really special community and it’s not about an England team, it about players who play at all levels, different ages, different shapes and sizes, different genders. It’s a really special community to be involved with.”