- A new patented duo valve allows for the most balanced rugby match ball ever used at a Rugby World Cup
- The iNNOVO match ball was in development for two years and has been used by international teams throughout world rugby since 2022
- Connected rugby ball technology seamlessly available for the Gilbert iNNOVO match ball
East Sussex, 23 May 2023 – Gilbert announces that the Official Match Ball of Rugby World Cup 2023 will feature a new dual valve technology, ensuring the most balanced rugby match ball ever produced.
The latest in a long line of Gilbert match balls to be introduced before a Rugby World Cup tournament - having supplied every tournament since 1995 - innovation and performance are at the heart of the iNNOVO match ball, the official Rugby World Cup 2023 match ball.
The introduction of a patented Gilbert Duo Valve, positioned in-seam, assists with the balance and rotation of the ball and also allows for a seamless transition to a smart connected ball, via a partnership with Gilbert’s exclusive technology partner, Sportable Technology.
In development and testing for nearly two years, the Gilbert iNNOVO match ball is an evolution in rugby match ball technology. Throughout prototype testing technical alterations were been made to improve the precision, accuracy and consistency of the ball. Many of the successful, and popular, characteristics of the Sirius match ball have been retained to ensure the reliability accustomed with a Gilbert ball remains for international players.
The iNNOVO was introduced to Gilbert Rugby’s sponsored International teams in November 2022 and has been used throughout senior men’s world rugby international fixtures since, ensuring all teams at RWC 2023 are familiarised with the ball before the tournament kicks off on 8 September, 2023.
World Rugby Chairman Bill Beaumont said: “World Rugby is proud to trust Gilbert with the design and manufacture of the official match ball for Rugby World Cup 2023, rugby’s biggest and showcase event. Our successful relationship stretches back to 1995 and once again, Gilbert has innovated with the iNNOVO match ball to provide the world’s best players with the best possible ball to perform.
“As we celebrate 200 years of rugby and shared heritage, we look forward to an exceptional and transformative Rugby World Cup 2023 in France. Together with Gilbert, we will keep our relentless efforts to innovate and make the game better for players and fans.
Gilbert Rugby Commercial CEO Richard Gray added: “At Gilbert we are committed to continuously improve and elevate the modern game for both players and fans. We are confident that the iNNOVO match ball will allow the world’s best players to perform on the biggest stage and light up Rugby World Cup 2023 in France.”
"Our longstanding partnership with Rugby World Cup is a great honour for us. It offers the ideal opportunity to unveil another innovative and advanced match ball to the world of rugby."
“We are proud to be celebrating 200 Years of the Gilbert brand in 2023, and it is our constant research, development and relentless drive to produce the best and most innovative products for rugby that sets Gilbert aside as the ball of choice for the World’s elite.”
iNNOVO is the Official match ball of Rugby World Cup 2023 and will be used in every match of the tournament.
All Mens International teams (using Gilbert rugby balls) from November 2022 onwards have been using the iNNOVO match ball, including throughout Six Nations, Rugby Championship and the Pacific Nations Cup.
Official Gilbert Rugby World Cup 2023 iNNOVO match balls will be available online from 31 May 2023; Official RWC 2023 replica match balls are available now from gilbertrugby.com and the Official RWC 2023 Store
Gilbert Rugby is a legendary brand with 200 years of expertise in crafting the finest rugby balls. From humble beginnings in the 1820s, Gilbert Rugby has become the ball of choice for the world's greatest rugby competitions. With a reputation for innovation, precision and quality, Gilbert Rugby is the ultimate symbol of rugby excellence. Proud to be the official ball of every Rugby World Cup since 1995, Gilbert is a market leader in the production and supply of rugby goods including: rugby balls, rugby boots, rugby clothing and rugby equipment.
It is the official supplier of the most important rugby tournaments and competitions in the world, such as the Rugby World Cup 2023, European Professional Club Rugby, Premiership Rugby, United Rugby Championship, Super Rugby and most of the World’s leading international teams.
ABOUT RUGBY WORLD CUP FRANCE 2023
Rugby World Cup 2023 will take place in France from 8 September-28 October with matches played in nine venues across 10 host cities. The tournament will be the 10th men’s Rugby World Cup and the second to be hosted by France after a memorable event in 2007.
RWC 2023 will take place in a year when the sport celebrates 200 years since Rugby School pupil William Webb Ellis was credited with inventing the game of rugby football by showing “a fine disregard for the rules” in catching the ball and running with it in 1823.
RWC 2023 will set new standards in social responsibility, inclusion and sustainability for a major rugby event, targeting four key pillars for the tournament’s legacy: acting for sustainability and circular economy, supporting education, training and employment, respecting and protecting the environment and promoting inclusivity by being a champion for gender equality.
The showpiece event in men’s 15s, Rugby World Cup 2023 will feature 20 teams with 48 matches played across 51 days.
The iNNOVO is the 8th version of Gilbert Rugby balls to be specifically engineered for Rugby World Cup. Previous Gilbert balls; the Gilbert Barbarian (RWC 1995), Gilbert Revolution (RWC 1999), Gilbert Xact (RWC 2003), the Gilbert Synergie (RWC 2007), the Gilbert Virtuo (RWC 2011), the Match-XV (RWC 2015) and the Sirius (RWC 2019) have all played their part in the development of the iNNOVO.
What is new?
We have introduced a Duo Valve, positioned in-seam, to assist with the balance and rotation of the ball. The duo valve also allows for a seamless transition to the iNNOVO smart ball, should a Union, League or Team decide to integrate smart balls, via a partnership with Gilbert’s exclusive partner, Sportable Technology.
What is retained?
External Pimple Pattern
The iNNOVO has the same shape and hyper defined pimple as the Sirius ball, which provides excellent grip and control, especially in wet conditions.
The iNNOVO has the same bladder as the SIRIUS. As with the SIRIUS, the iNNOVO should be inflated to 9.5 psi for optimum performance and shape retention.
The iNNOVO has the same surface compound as the SIRIUS, which has been retained for its soft feel and water repellent properties.
The iNNOVO weighs the same as the SIRIUS - to maintain strike properties.
The iNNOVO is cut from the same punching knives as the SIRIUS - providing the same familiar shape and ensuring that every iNNOVO match ball produced is consistent, no matter what match it is used for.