The latest in a long line of Gilbert match balls to be introduced before a Rugby World Cup tournament – having supplied every tournament since 1995 – innovation and performance are at the heart of the iNNOVO match ball, the official Rugby World Cup 2023 match ball.
The introduction of a patented Gilbert Duo Valve, positioned in-seam, assists with the balance and rotation of the ball and also allows for a seamless transition to a smart connected ball, via a partnership with Gilbert’s exclusive technology partner, Sportable Technology.
In development and testing for nearly two years, the Gilbert iNNOVO match ball is an evolution in rugby match ball technology. Throughout prototype testing technical alterations were been made to improve the precision, accuracy and consistency of the ball. Many of the successful, and popular, characteristics of the Sirius match ball have been retained to ensure the reliability accustomed with a Gilbert ball remains for international players.
The iNNOVO was introduced to Gilbert Rugby’s sponsored International teams in November 2022 and has been used throughout senior men’s world rugby international fixtures since, ensuring all teams at RWC 2023 are familiarised with the ball before the tournament kicks off on 8 September, 2023.
World Rugby Chairman Bill Beaumont said: “World Rugby is proud to trust Gilbert with the design and manufacture of the official match ball for Rugby World Cup 2023, rugby’s biggest and showcase event. Our successful relationship stretches back to 1995 and once again, Gilbert has innovated with the iNNOVO match ball to provide the world’s best players with the best possible ball to perform.
“As we celebrate 200 years of rugby and shared heritage, we look forward to an exceptional and transformative Rugby World Cup 2023 in France. Together with Gilbert, we will keep our relentless efforts to innovate and make the game better for players and fans.
Gilbert Rugby Commercial CEO Richard Gray added: “At Gilbert we are committed to continuously improve and elevate the modern game for both players and fans. We are confident that the iNNOVO match ball will allow the world’s best players to perform on the biggest stage and light up Rugby World Cup 2023 in France.”
“Our longstanding partnership with Rugby World Cup is a great honour for us. It offers the ideal opportunity to unveil another innovative and advanced match ball to the world of rugby.”
“We are proud to be celebrating 200 Years of the Gilbert brand in 2023, and it is our constant research, development and relentless drive to produce the best and most innovative products for rugby that sets Gilbert aside as the ball of choice for the World’s elite.”
iNNOVO is the Official match ball of Rugby World Cup 2023 and will be used in every match of the tournament.
All Mens International teams (using Gilbert rugby balls) from November 2022 onwards have been using the iNNOVO match ball, including throughout Six Nations, Rugby Championship and the Pacific Nations Cup.
Official Gilbert Rugby World Cup 2023 iNNOVO match balls will be available online from 31 May 2023; Official RWC 2023 replica match balls are available now from gilbertrugby.com and the Official RWC 2023 Store