2009 will bring kit makers adidas full circle back to South Africa, where the sportswear company began its journey with the Lions, but with a vastly different kit.
Two years after the 1997 Tour, adidas was the first company to introduce tight, non-cotton shirts into rugby and over the years the technical developments have not stopped. The new playing shirt for the 2009 South Africa Tour will be the most advanced rugby jersey available and incorporates all of adidas' leading technologies to help players perform at their best.
Most importantly, the shirt will stand up to whatever the World Champions throw at the Lions. Thermally-bonded seams strengthen the shirt at crucial 'rip' points and it has been put through countless bursting strength and tear tests.
Despite this added strength, the shirt is 30% lighter than in 2005, due to a different fabric and cut. It features ForMotion™ and FlowMapping™ technology, a unique highlight in top adidas performance apparel where the shirt is designed 3-dimensionally and engineered to fit tight to a the player's body whilst allowing increased ease of motion with reduced weight.
ClimaCool™ technology will help players in what could be varying weather conditions across South Africa, drawing sweat away from the skin and preventing the jersey absorbing rain so it does not become heavy and slow down the players.
"We are immensely proud to once again be the official kit supplier to the British & Irish Lions - the most inspirational rugby team there is," said Robin Money, head of sports marketing for adidas UK.
"This is the fourth successive tour for which adidas has provided the all important kit and we are confident that the players will be better equipped than ever."
"I've been privileged to have been involved in seven Lions tours, both as a player and on the management team, and so I know how much it means to be part of the Tour," added Lions head coach Ian McGeechan.
"To pull on the Lions shirt is a very special moment that is the pinnacle of a rugby player's career."
Replica shirts (in men's, women's and children's sizes) are on sale now. Fans will also be able to buy the exact playing shirt that the team will wear.
To check out the new range of Lions merchandise, or to purchase your kit, please click here