'Tone-deaf': Female players fume over 'unacceptable' model gaffe

·3-min read
Models wear the Irish jersey, which has been slammed on social media.
Canterbury apologised after using models instead of women players in the launch of their jersey. (Image: Twitter)

New Zealand clothing company Canterbury has apologised after a jersey launch for the women’s international team was slammed for showcasing models instead of the players.

Canterbury, a sport and activewear clothing company from New Zealand, recently launched the Irish team international team’s jersey.

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The men’s and women’s team jerseys were launched together with players from the men’s team, such as Bundee Aki, appeared in the launch.

But the women’s photo didn’t have any players, but instead featured models in their place.

London Wasps Ladies star Florence Williams took to Twitter to call out the double-standards.


“2 Jersey Launches, 3 Models, 3 International Players, 3 Profiles lifted, 1 HUGE Opportunity Missed.

“By not using the female players to market THEIR OWN KIT an opportunity to build recognition, fan bases & creating role models for future generations is lost.”

Williams added the women’s game was up against it if marketing opportunities like this are overlooked.

“A nameless face in the jersey does nothing to represent the women who will be wearing it,” she said.

“Brilliant to inspire the future Robbie Henshaw’s and Connor Murray’s, but when visibility for the women’s game is so key, this is a missed opportunity & thoughtless marketing.”

Other women rugby players also shared their thoughts and slammed the ‘tone-deaf’ move.

Canterbury apologise for campaign error

Her tweet, and uproar on social media, prompted Canterbury to issue an apology.

“As a brand, we believe in putting our hands up if we get something wrong. To announce that our new Ireland women’s Pro jersey was available for pre-order, we superimposed the jersey’s image onto a model to share this exciting development with our dedicated female players and fans,” the statement read.

“It was always, and remains, our intention to photograph the female players in the new jersey and we remain committed to supporting the talented women in our rugby community on and off the field.

“While the image was primarily designed for our website, which also features male models, it has understandably caused some frustration. We accept that this was an error and apologise for any upset caused.”