Johannesburg - The South African Rugby Union’s new six-year deal with sporting goods giant Asics is not only good news for the rugby fraternity but could also give a boost to the South African economy after it was revealed that a significant portion of the jerseys will be manufactured locally.
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According to the supersport.com website, SARU have made it a key point in the deal, signed on Wednesday, that they expect the jerseys to be produced locally, thereby giving the local textile manufacturing economy a timely boost and helping with job creation.
While Asics have factories all over the world to produce their sportsware, the company have also indicated they will be moving part of their production to South Africa and are in the process of finding local partners to help with this.
SARU CEO Jurie Roux said this was a non-negotiable as SARU see themselves as a good corporate citizen in the South African landscape.
“We as South African Rugby are in the process of determining our targets as a whole, not only with Asics but also with our tier two clothing, which is a significant number as well. With that we will talk to the unions, Proudly South Africa and hopefully sign a pledge in terms of the percentages, and we’re busy negotiating that at the moment,” he explained.
“We would love to be the first organisation to sign that pledge and show that we are committed to South Africa and the South African economy.”
Alistair Cameron, President and CEO of Asics Emea, said that his company were currently in the process of vetting local manufacturers to help with production as from next year. Cameron has extensive knowledge of the local market with his previous position at Speedo, and the company are currently setting up manufacturing hubs so as to move their production to South Africa.
“We see it as a real opportunity. Our design and development team has been here three times and we’re in the stage of certifying a couple of major venues. We also see it as an opportunity for our other lifestyle wear. There are many sportswear t-shirts that we have traditionally been making in many parts of the world and it makes sense to make them here,” Cameron said.
“It is all to do with the inside knowledge to set it up. We’re committed but we need to avoid any issues regarding manufacturing, but it will take time. We will be working with the SARU team and with their help get it right.”
While the first shipment of Bok jerseys under the Asics logo will be in retail stores around March next year, they will most likely come from the company manufacturing concerns in Japan or France, as Asics wants to be 100 percent sure of their production and manufacturing capabilities in South Africa first and does not want to rush the process.