Ulster players took to the catwalk last night at the Kingspan Stadium for a spectacular launch of the new Ulster Rugby kit for the 2015-16 season.
Close on 1,500 Ulster Rugby season tickets holders held their breath as the clock ticked down to the unveiling of a massive image of Ulster captain, Rory Best, Andrew Trimble and Tommy Bowe on the back of the Memorial End Stand.
But pictures only tell part of the story and the crowd were clearly thrilled and excited by the arrival of the players in the new look home kit, which retains the traditional white of Ulster Rugby, and a new Cyan away kit.
The new range of leisure wear was also well received with some bold and creative use of the colours a credit to the Kukri Sportswear design team.
Ulster Rugby had promised something different for this year’s launch and they and Kukri Sportswear delivered a stellar event which included 10 international players who are all hopeful of being on the plane a month from now with Ireland to this year’s Rugby World Cup in England.
Many of them will be back at the Kingspan Stadium again today to meet with supporters again when the annual Family Fiun Day is staged.
And it will be another opportunity for those who did not get to last night’s launch to catch a look at all the new kit and leisure wear range with a visit to the Kukri shop.
Ulster’s new home and away kits feature Kingspan across the chest as the province’s new main sponsor and combines the latest kit technologies to create bold new designs.
Ulster skipper Best said the players had been amazed by the turnout for the launch from the fans.
“As much as the kit and as much as it means having new sponsors on board, for a kit launch to see so many people here and create the atmosphere that they did shows the appetite there is for rugby in Ulster. And it is great to know that we have sponsors and partners to match that.
Chris Henry added that while everyone is used to a new kit launch around this time of the year, Ulster Rugby had really pulled out all the stops to make it an extra special occasion.
“And I think the new home and away kits have matched that, it was a cool experience this evening and brilliant to see so many fans here.”
The Bank of Ireland logo remains on the jersey, with BT Sport on the sleeves and new sponsor, Go Power, featured for the first time on the back.
Created by Kukri’s team in Lisburn, County Antrim, the home shirt incorporates Ulster’s traditional colours of white, red and black and is made from 4D technical fabric with a ‘bridge’ collar. It has a four-way stretch, making it a much tighter, neater fitting jersey.
The shirts are also sublimated to keep them lightweight and feature special panels designed to minimise abrasions.
The new cyan away jersey also incorporates the latest kit technology and with a distinctive green trim on both the shirt and the shorts it is sure to stand out both on and off the pitch.
Ulster will wear the new away jersey against Leinster on 21st August in a pre-season game at Kingspan Stadium and in the pre-season match versus Edinburgh on 28th August at Goldenacre.
Terry Jackson, Director and General Manager, Kukri Ireland said: “We’re really pleased with how the new kits look and we hope the Ulster Rugby supporters will love them too. Our design team has maintained the traditional Ulster colours but has added modern elements to the design.
“To launch the new kits in front of so many supporters at Kingspan Stadium is fantastic and it demonstrates the popularity of Ulster Rugby and interest levels in our merchandise.”
The new elite home and away Ulster Rugby jerseys start at £50 for children and £65 for adults and are on sale in the Ulster Rugby shop at Kingspan Stadium, in retailers and online at www.ulsterrugbyshop.com.
A loose fit, supporters’ jersey costs £45 for children and £55 for adults and is available to pre-order online at http://www.ulsterrugbyshop.com/collections/replica-kit, in the Kukri shop or over the phone and will be in stores at the end of August.