Rugby World Cup 2011
Lomu irked by England strip
July 28, 2011
Jonah Lomu believes England have erred in adopting a black away kit for the World Cup © Getty Images
Jonah Lomu has admitted that he has been shocked by England's decision to adopt an all-black strip for this year's World Cup in New Zealand.
New Zealand's national side has been wearing an all-black strip for over 100 years and it has become one of the most famous and recognisable uniforms in sport - hence the nickname. Consequently, many New Zealanders have been irked by the recent revelation that England will be wearing an all-black strip for their pool clash with Argentina on September 10.
The decision has been justified by the fact that England cannot wear their traditional white kit against the Argentines, whose jerseys are blue and white, but Lomu feels that the Rugby Football Union (RFU) should have decided on another colour.
"For me, in some ways you are just disrespecting the legacy of past players," the legendary All Blacks winger told BBC Sport. "The All Blacks are synonymous with being in all black, and England the white shirt they have.
"I will find it difficult to watch England in a different shirt. I am one of those people who was brought up on the history of rugby, watching the great players of the past who have worn the England shirt and also the All Blacks. I will find it pretty weird to look across the paddock and see them run out not wearing that famous white uniform."
Lomu, though, does not believe that the controversy over England's jerseys will distract New Zealand's players from their goal of ending the country's 24-year wait for a second World Cup title success.
"It is theirs to lose," he said of the overwhelming favourites for the Webb Ellis Cup. "It is on their home ground, they know the grounds better than any other team, they will have their fans there and the support around them from their own families. That is a huge advantage but at the same time, the players still have to do their job and do it well."
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
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