England's kit supplier has been left with egg on its face
after presumptuous plans for a 'Grand Slam Champions' campaign backfired.
The men in white had been odds-on favourites to beat Ireland
in Dublin on Saturday and secure their first Grand Slam since 2003, but an
inspired Irish team ended that dream as they smashed England 24-8.
The brilliance of the Irish taught a costly lesson
to England kit supplier Nike as its promotional
video hailing England as 'Grand Slam Champions 2011' was leaked on to the
internet - as was a pre-match internal email seeming to take victory for granted.
The RFU expressed their dismay over the leak, with a statement reading: "It is disappointing that details of Nike's internal planning has got into the public domain.
"In no way did the RFU or the England team underestimate the challenge that the Ireland team would pose.
"We were well beaten by a team who played better and we have the utmost respect for (Ireland coach) Declan Kidney and the Irish players."
The Daily Telegraph reported that the video was just the
start, with 5,000 limited edition Grand Slam T-shirts produced and a massive advertising campaign - due to begin immediately after
the match - ready to heave into motion.
Those T-shirts are now redundant, while the campaign was hastily cancelled.
A leaked internal memo from Nike read: "We have
commissioned a special limited edition T-shirt to celebrate the England Grand
Slam 2011, which we will give to the players when we win against Ireland on
"The T-shirt is inspired by the iconic English rose
(like the kit) and 5K units will go into retail at the RFU and NikeTown London
after the game.
"In the spirit of owning sporting moments, we will also
execute a burst of Digital Out-of-Home activity that will start right on the
final whistle in over 20 of London's most prominent underground stations
through Digital Escalator Panels and Cross-Track Projections."
Watch the video: