From Tuesday (July 1), Ulster supporters will be able to get their hands on the new Ulster kit, which is the start of a three-year £1million deal for the province with sports brand Kukri.
Ulster Rugby has worked in conjunction with Kukri to create an innovative and highly functional playing kit for the 2008/09 season, with players working directly with Kukri’s design team to manufacture a jersey created entirely to their specification.
Ulster Rugby’s CEO Michael Reid said: “The areas of quality and performance for both team and replica kit were key when we were considering moving to a new supplier, and we felt Kukri were very strong in both these aspects.
“Our players had unprecedented input into the construction of the garments, working with the Kukri designers to create a totally unique jersey from scratch, encompassing features they liked in other jerseys as well as some of their own ideas.
“As a result they have a playing kit created specifically to their needs and wants, something that they feel entirely comfortable wearing and confident to perform well in.
“The players have tested the Kukri kit behind the scenes, getting the opportunity to gain a feel for the garments and measure the performance, and the feedback was excellent – the players are delighted with the finished product and believe that the supporters will be delighted to,” he added.
Kukri Sports Limited currently have offices in seven different countries across the world including – USA, Australia and New Zealand being some of them – supplying over fifty different sports.
Kukri Ireland is headed up locally by Terry Jackson, their Director and General Manager.
Remarking on the pioneering fabrics used to create the new Ulster kit, Jackson said: “We embarked on a joint project with Ulster Rugby to develop a playing jersey, using completely unique materials aimed at giving the team the best performing jersey on the market.
“Ulster Check is now Kukri’s premier rugby fabric designed for comfort and performance. It’s extremely durable, produced to withstand the rigors of rugby, but still lightweight and flexible.
The Ulster Mesh is designed for breathability.
It helps disperse heat allowing the player to keep cool. The heavy knit design on the shoulders provides strength and compression ensuring the players have the protection needed.
“The kit has also been treated with a dirt resistant finish which should help keep the white Ulster home shirt gleaming even after a wet night at Ravenhill.”
Talking about the three-year deal, Michael Reid explained: “Kukri are a huge organisation and the fact that there is an office based in Northern Ireland developing unique products for our players and supporters is a huge plus.
“Everyone at Ulster Rugby is looking forward to working with Terry and his team over the next three seasons.”
Current Ulster Rugby players will be present, alongside a number of Ulster’s new signings, at four official Ulster Rugby Kukri kit signing launches on Wednesday (July 2).
The signing launches will take place in Belfast at SS Moores and Athletic Stores, in Newtownards at InSport and in Portadown at Game On between 2.30pm and 3.30pm.