Long a byword for quality and value, sportswear label Canterbury hit the headlines this week after it was chosen as the official supplier of kit for the England Rugby Union squad. Canterbury rugby kits have been the top choice of professional and amateur players now for nigh on a century, with the company proudly boasting its position as the world’s largest supplier of official rugby kit for national teams – other squads include the USA, Japan, South Africa and Scotland. What is it about “the world’s original rugby brand” that attracts so much confidence among dedicated players?
Building on its Edwardian heritage
Canterbury of New Zealand was originally founded in the province of Canterbury in New Zealand way back in 1904. It started out as a firm specializing in knitwear – of which rugby jerseys were a big part. After it decided to dedicate itself largely to providing rugby kits, the company soon became known as a place where the highest standards were maintained and its logo – three kiwi birds against three circular backgrounds, creating the letters CCC for “Canterbury Clothing Company” – became known across New Zealand and beyond.
Making quality the number one priority
It’s the rigors of field testing that have defined Canterbury’s approach to its sports kits. Rugby is an unforgiving game, so only the most hard-wearing and comfortable items will do. This ethos permeated the company, according to CEO Ross Munro, who told the Australian Business Journal that the brand image combines “durability, quality, style and innovation.” This innovation has revealed itself most recently with changes in the materials used and the manufacturing process himself, he revealed, saying: “Garment construction and fabric technology has changed markedly. From polycotton jerseys that were loose fitting, players are now playing in fitted polyester garments that are lightweight and wick moisture.”
Growing as the game grows
With such a focus on quality, it’s little wonder that Canterbury rugby kits are synonymous with both the Rugby World Cup and rugby played regionally and nationally to the highest levels. The company shows no signs of letting up, with Munro revealing that it plans to keep growing along with the sport, while retaining its core values of 108 years ago.