The Gilbert match ball, that will be used in the 2019 Rugby World Cup in Japan, was introduced this past week. Its design is strongly influenced by host country Japan.


The Rugby World Cup ball features a fractal spiral pattern, which ends in a polygonal representation of the sun on the tip of the ball, which provides a clear reference for players when the ball is rotating.

The design also features traditional Japanese patterns amongst the geometric shapes.

The pattern edges are framed by darker colours to create a contrast between the graphics and the rest of the ball, which allows the player to easier see the ball.

Replica ball sales will start at the end of the year and retailers can contact the local Gilbert distributor Leisure Holdings for information.


The international rugby governing body, World Rugby, has also announced that Gilbert will again supply the official match ball for the Women’s Rugby World Cup 2021, as well as the 2023 Rugby World Cup, which will hopefully be played in South Africa.

Although an evaluation committee recommended that South Africa should be the preferred bidder in terms of the World Rugby criteria for hosting the 2023 World Cup, the 39 members of the World Rugby Council (excluding candidate nations) still have to vote on November 15th whether South Africa, France or Ireland should be the next host.

At the 2017 Craven Week SA Rugby also officially endorsed Gilbert’s full match ball range, from the Match XV and Barbarian official SA Rugby match balls, to the Photon (official club rugby match ball), Vapour (schools rugby matches age 16-19) and Dimension (official entry level match ball for schools and clubs).

The Gilbert club and school balls endorsed by SA Rugby are ltr Photon (clubs), Vapour (school matches U16-U19) and entry level Dimension.

Gilbert will also be the official ball supplier of other World Rugby premier 15s tournaments like the World Rugby U20 Championship and Trophy and the World Rugby Pacific Challenge. The brand also supplies balls for key World Rugby development programmes, such as the ‘Get Into Rugby’ mass participation programme.

“It is a tremendous honour for everyone at Gilbert to have been selected by World Rugby as their official ball supplier, not only for the next two Rugby World Cup tournaments, but also the full range of World Rugby 15s events,” says Richard Gray, Gilbert Rugby Sales & Marketing Director.

“We are particularly excited by the opportunity to support World Rugby by investing in the development of the sport in new rugby countries, as an integral part of the agreement. Coupled with our existing support of the World Rugby sevens programme, this new agreement cements the Gilbert ball at the heart of the game. We are looking forward to launching our new Rugby World Cup collection over the coming months in the run up to Japan 2019, culminating in the unveiling of our new match ball.”