The distinctive shirts that will be worn by the New Zealand All Blacks in this Saturday’s rugby world cup semi-final have been embroidered by a firm in Sowerby.
International Sports Services scored the contract when the England football kit manager recommended them to the All Blacks kit team.
“We’ve been doing all the England kits since 1990,” said Dave Roberts, manager.
“This All Blacks contract is a special one. We don’t know who will be in the team and what positions they will play until a few days before the event, so we have to machine each shirt individually to a precise specification for each player.
“They tell us exactly what they want a few days before and we turn it around in a day. So I received the precise order at 9am this Wednesday morning, and we will have all the shirts machined and ready to be shipped out by this evening.”
Each shirt also has a GPS biometric device sewn into the neck which monitors the performance of the player, so adjustments can be made to the squad in future matches according to need.
International Sports Services has also been fulfilling commissions for team members’ achievements. For example, Centre Ma’a Nonu marked his 100th test with the match against Tonga on October 9. To celebrate he was awarded his 100th test cap, embroided with metallic thread by the firm.
If the All Blacks survive their semi-final clash with South Africa on Saturday at Twickenham, they will face either Argentina or Australia in the final on October 31.