As New Zealand stand ready to tear England's rugby team a new one in their match this Saturday, they have a new weapon in their arsenal: increased blackness.
Okay, we can't even believe we're reporting this, but the All Blacks' shirts are now all blacker. How black are they? Well you know on really expensive TVs or AMOLED smartphone screens, how the blacks are all, like, really black? Well their shirts are blacker than that.
Developed over two years by top boffins at Adidas' doubtless scary and shadow-wrapped HQ, aided by Dan Carter, Richie McCaw, Conrad Smith, Liam Messam and the unfortunately-named Israel Dagg (five Kiwi rugby players, one of whom we've heard of), the shirts also boast "Dynamic Stretch Analysis". This is, "an exclusive body mapping system that measures players’ bodies as they move revealing strain applied to skin and in which direction."
We think this means that the way the fabric stretches can be analysed after wearing because a visible "map" of how it's moved during the game is created. This also means that armchair fans of the game can buy the shirts, wear them, and plot the development of their beer guts.
The fabric, known as "Woven Carbon" offers two-way stretch, extreme strength and flexibility with breathability. "It's used in the sailing industry," Adidas says, though it doesn't specify for what. Presumably not deckchairs.
The jerseys come in two varieties. The first is for forwards and is a little looser, so they can bind on at scrums easier. The one for backs, by contrast, is skin tight. That's to give an unprecedentedly homoerotic showcase for all those hours spent in the gym. Oh, and to make them harder to grab hold of. Development of both jerseys was based on findings from the aforementioned Dynamic Stretch Analysis.
About 10,000 hours went into the development of this miracle shirt, with five rounds of testing in Germany, France and New Zealand.
Oh, and they've made it more black. Did we mention that? That's by removing the white collar found on the previous version and making the numbers in gunmetal silver. Says Israel Dagg: "It makes me feel stronger... It will be awesome when we run onto the field and the other teams are faced with the wave of black.”