In a case of the world in union, a Manawatu firm's recreation of a piece of All Blacks history has been gifted to a rugby club in Wales.
The Manawatu Knitting Mills replica 1905 All Blacks Originals jersey was given to the Tycroes Rugby Football Club in Carmarthenshire with the help of a Massey University tutor.
The club had an original jersey from the 1905 tour, one of only eight thought to remain. However, last year it warned it would have to sell the piece of memorabilia because of financial strains.
Tina Downes, from Massey's Institute of Design for Industry and Environment, saw a story about the club's plight on New Zealand television and suggested it be replaced with one of the replicas she had designed.
"We were sitting at home and watching the TV and these people came on selling the jersey," she told Welsh newspaper the Carmarthen Journal. "I said `oh God, they are going to lose this, why don't we give them one of ours to replace it?' And that's pretty much what happened.
"I was coming to the UK anyway, to Twickenham, which had bought one of the jerseys, so I came up to Tycroes after that."
Last year Ms Downes helped create 10 replicas of the jersey. They were made at Manawatu Knitting Mills, the same place the original jerseys were made more than 100 years ago.
The jersey had been one of several donated to the New Zealand Rugby Museum in Palmerston North ahead of last year's Rugby World Cup.
Carmarthenshires Tycroes chairman Merion Powell said: "It was quite a coincidence ... there is a God and he obviously looks after Welsh rugby clubs.
"Some 112 years down the line and it is the same as the original shirt."
The story was reported first in the journal and the publicity received meant the club received bids above $15,000 from both Wales and New Zealand.
Tycroes came to own the original jersey after it was given by the Swansea club. Wales was the only team to beat the All Blacks on The Originals' 35-match tour of Europe and Canada.
- © Fairfax NZ News
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