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Last Updated: Friday, 29 August, 2003, 07:54 GMT 08:54 UK
England trial World Cup kit
England back rower Richard Hill models the new shirt
England back rower Richard Hill models the new shirt
England will use Saturday's game against France to unveil a figure-hugging new kit which they believe will give them an edge at the Rugby World Cup.

England head coach Clive Woodward came up with the theory that wearing baggy shirts makes players easier to tackle.

And the team's kit suppliers Nike have responded by producing a skin-tight kit which is also designed to stay light by retaining less sweat.

"It's not a case of experimenting," said Woodward. "We've been working really closely with Nike, one of the main sponsors of the team.

"We highlighted this almost two years ago to Nike when Jason Robinson would have scored three tries, I think, against Scotland.

The difference in weight between a current shirt and this new one is staggering
England head coach
Clive Woodward

"But they kept on grabbing hold of his shirt and I sent an email to Nike with a throw-away line 'watch these three moments'.

"I think if his shirt had fitted tighter he would have scored three tries and Nike have been absolutely outstanding. They have gone away and designed a kit for the World Cup that when you see it, it's clearly very tight.

"Also the material when you are perspiring a lot, which they will during the World Cup, the difference in weight between a current shirt and this new one is staggering.

"The French use them as well and the down side is that Nike also sponsor France and South Africa, so those three teams will be wearing this kit for the World Cup."

Jason Robinson in action in England's old kit
England's new kit could make it harder to stop players like Robinson

England go into Saturday's game against France on a 14-game winning streak.

Woodward believes the side's warm weather training in Marseille will prepare them well for the heat of the World Cup, where they could end up facing Australia or New Zealand in the final.

The All Blacks started the trend for wearing tight shirts, but Woodward said: "I don't think they are as tight as the ones you will see on Saturday.

"This was designed mainly due to the Jason Robinson incident and the heat factor, but I think once the players start wearing it, it will be interesting to see what we will wear in next year's Six Nations when we go back to more English-style weather.

"I think they will want to stay with it because it's very tight and very light and they can still wear the padding underneath it."




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