Sunday, July 17, 2011
With the Rugby World Cup only a few months away, now is as good a time as any to take a closer look at the ball that will be used. Once again, Gilbert are the official suppliers, and have created a great looking ball.
You can expect two things to dominate the World Cup - defence, and kicking. As we've seen in past tournaments, if you master those two key elements, you're likely to go a long way.
With that in mind, Gilbert have put special emphasis on creating a ball that will provide goal and line kickers with improved accuracy. Out of hand, it will also have an impact as it has new rubber compounds that will have an influence on it's flight. It's been thoroughly tested, with former Test flyhalfs Paul Grayson and Braam van Straaten both having a chance to check it out.
The design is uniquely created, paying homage to the Maori people by incorporating stylistic elements taken directly from within their culture. The Hammerhead Shark, or Mongopare, is considered as the greatest shark because of it's tenacious nature, strength, and determination. The Fern shoot, or the Koru, represents the cycle of life, family, and creation.
Van Straaten, who during his career was outspoken about having a unified, standard match ball for all Test rugby, was impressed by the Gilbert Virtuo.
"There is no doubt that Gilbert is the leader when it comes to rugby balls, in my mind they have always been ahead of the pack. The ball travels perfectly through the air - it's aerodynamic and with the adaptation Gilbert has made to both the strength and the bladder makes it a pleasure to kick," he said.
The following video is a feature from Total Rugby about the ball, how it's made, and the design process. In your opinion, is there any other ball that comes close to Gilbert?
Note, clips from the Australia vs Samoa game will be featured on the site soon. Feel free to leave a request should there be anything in particular you're after. Thanks.
Note: Thanks to IRB Total Rugby for the interesting feature