The Official Match Ball for Rugby World Cup 2011 in New Zealand has been launched by Gilbert at a special event in Auckland today.
The Virtuo is the latest in a succession of balls to be engineered by Gilbert specifically for Rugby’s global showpiece Tournament and has been launched after rigorous testing, including an extensive Test match programme.
The Virtuo features exciting new performance developments including innovative valve and bladder designs that will deliver superior shape retention and spin rate over previous Gilbert match balls.
Rugby World Cup Limited Chairman Bernard Lapasset said: “Gilbert is a brand that is synonymous with Rugby World Cup, having supplied balls for all tournaments since 1995. We are delighted to be launching an Official Rugby World Cup 2011 Match Ball that does not just look great, but will deliver another advance in performance through Gilbert’s expertise.”
“There are many facets that go into making RWC 2011 a success and without question ensuring that all the teams have the best possible Rugby ball to play with is certainly one of them. We are enthused by how well the Virtuo has been received by the elite playing community.”
Richard Gray, Sales and Marketing Director of Grays International, added: “We are honoured that yet again Rugby World Cup Limited have entrusted to Gilbert the responsibility of producing the RWC 2011 Official Match Ball. No one more than Gilbert understands the need for absolute precision in the manufacture of a top quality Rugby ball to perform on the world stage.”
“The Virtuo is without question our best ball yet. Since its creation we have put the ball through its paces. So far it has seen action in the autumn series of Internationals and throughout the Six Nations – over 30 hours play time of International Rugby. By July every RWC 2011 participating Union will have played and/or trained with the ball for extended periods. The Virtuo has exceeded our expectations.”
Replica Gilbert Official match balls have been selling well online at www.rwcshop.com and in store via official outlets around the world, but fans will now be able to get their hands on 1,000 limited edition boxed match balls, each with their own certificate.