New Zealand's Rugby World Cup 2023 shirt has gone down like a lead balloon on social media

The All Blacks World Cup shirt has been widely slammed online after New Zealand released the kit that they will wear in France later this year.

The usual all black number has a proper collar and a special take on the incorporation of the traditional silver fern. There are 14 different sized silver ferns detailed across the main shirt – representing the “diversity and differing experience” of the squad – with the usual emblem becoming the 15th.

Read more: New Zealand Rugby World Cup squad

According to the press release, all the ferns point inwards “to create the ‘USO’ mark; a Samoan term meaning brother, in honour of the bond between the All Blacks”. The shirt has been designed by Parisian-based street-style designer Fey the Wolf who is renowned for his use of the colour black. Fey the Wolf created the kit in conjunction with the players and Adidas’s design team, and has also been snapped at training with the squad.

Scrum-half Aaron Smith said: “This is a massive year for us as we travel to France seeking our fourth Rugby World Cup title, in what is, arguably, the most fiercely contested tournament in living memory. The jersey is so important, not only to us as players, but to all New Zealanders around the world – so to have the opportunity to talk through what the jersey and the fern means to us as a nation with Fey The Wolf, and be a part of that creative process, was a really unique experience.”

All Blacks World Cup shirt: The Reaction

However, there was somewhat of a frosty reception to the release online. One social media user said: “Some toddler just vandalised the All Blacks shirt before kit launch.”

Another added: “#Adidas make awful clothing and terrible kits but… that’s an exceptionally terrible version, even for them. It will be one for the clearance bins.”

Related: Scott Robertson to coach All Blacks after World Cup

A third panned the release, saying: “Looks like a goth was asked to design a Hawaiian shirt!”

One user seemed to really take their dislike of the top to the next level, adding: “Of all the appalling things in the world right now, that new All Blacks RWC shirt has to be in the top 2.”

The move away from the usual clean-cut plain black shirt irked one Twitter user: “It’s hideous. How can you screw up a black shirt that badly?”

New Zealand Rugby World Cup 2023 kit: Hear from the designer

All Blacks World Cup shirt

The designer of the All Blacks World Cup shirt, Fey the Wolf, at New Zealand training (Getty Images)

Fey the Wolf said: “There is no more iconic jersey in sport, so it was an incredible privilege to be entrusted with reimagining it for this moment. Central to my approach was to encapsulate what the fern means to New Zealanders of all backgrounds and to help, I was lucky enough to spend time with members of the squad, which provided valuable insight.

“What stood out to me most, is the sense of guardianship. That the jersey is never owned but passed on to create a continuous line. This was a true jumping off point when starting the creative process – and the responsibility I too carry.”

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