At the 2003 Rugby World Cup Nike had the embarrassment of their jersey ripping when England played South Africa. Now it is the turn of adidas as the sleeve of New Zealand’s Sonny Bill Williams was torn during their opening game of the 2011 competition against Tonga at Eden Park, Auckland.
The sleeve tearing did not cause much impact on the fans, but later in the game Sonny Bill changed his jersey whilst out on the pitch and that caused a round of applause and cheering from most of the 60,000 plus crowd, particularly the women. It also created a lot of impact later on youtube as the video did the rounds. The All Blacks doctor Deborah Robinson helped the Centre change his shirt and she said (quote) Obviously, I could sense there was some interest when the crowd cheered, but we just got on with the game. (end quote)
We understand that adidas are sending the jersey to China to try and ascertain how the sleeve was torn in Friday night’s Rugby World Cup opening game and then how Sonny Bill Williams was able to pull it off. adidas sports marketing strategy manager Paul Stephens said “The jersey is on its way to our technical quality control centre at the sourcing headquarters in China where it will be analysed and then returned to the player to keep.”
Sonny Bill Williams said he had been taking it from his team-mates since he ripped his torn sleeve off during the match, and was helped with a replacement jersey by team doctor Deb Robinson. He said “I could hear the boys giving me a hard time. In the heat of the moment I thought it was better ripped [right off] than staying on and obviously then I had to change my jersey, but I didn’t think about it too much till I got back in the sheds afterwards and all the boys were giving me some stick. Williams said he hoped the jersey fetched plenty at auction.”