It looks like the arms race has begun…

In 2003, England were ahead of the rest of the Rugby World Cup pack because they were the first ones to utilise tight, cutting edge kit. In the preceding years everyone else caught up. We are in the age of marginal gains and if an international side can find any small edge they must exploit it.

So here is the first of a series of videos from the Asics Institute of Sport Science in Kobe, Japan, where the boffins have been hard at work trying to create an edge for South Africa with their kit. Here we see Tendai Mtawarira – the Beast – asking the team of experts to help him with one particular problem: “I want to run with a ball that never slips.”

The Beast is joined by a few fellow Springboks – namely superstars like Eben Etzebeth, Duane Vermeulen, Bismarck du Plessis and Jean de Villiers.

In the coming weeks and months we will hear more and more about the fantastic preparation methods, innovative techniques and specialised equipment Test teams will be using in their bids for World Cup glory – but the South Africans are the first one to let us in on their methods and kit. Will it give them the edge on the big stage?