Wednesday, September 26, 2007

iRB practice ball: Is it the real thing?

Acceptance the boot is the most influential match winning factor in modern rugby may not ‘kick butt’ with the purists but it appears to yet again be confirmed at the Rugby World Cup 2007 France. Now there have been reports the training ball used in preparation for competition is not the same as the match ball. Despite reassurances from Gilbert the manufacturer of the IRB ball, both training and match balls are the same, there now appears to be significant differences. The All Blacks, and other teams, had found that Gilbert balls issued for trainings were different from the actual match ball and the officials of the cream of New Zealand rugby were annoyed to discover the team would not play with an official match ball until the final warm up against Scotland. Claims that key boot players, like Johnny Wilkinson, are hampered in their game preparation have been cited. All Blacks’ manager Darren Shand has been assured the matter will be rectified.

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