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The Gilbert Synergie
is a rugby union
Rugby union, often simply referred to as rugby, is a full contact team sport which originated in England in the early 19th century. One of the two codes of rugby football, it is based on running with the ball in hand...
rugby ball produced by Gilbert
Gilbert is a sporting goods manufacturing company, specialising in balls for rugby union and netball. The company was established by William Gilbert in 1823, who along with his nephew, James, developed the first rugby balls, having previously made football boots before the game of rugby had been...
. The Gilbert Synergie was the official match ball of the 2007 Rugby World Cup
The 2007 Rugby World Cup was the sixth Rugby World Cup, a quadrennial international rugby union competition inaugurated in 1987. Twenty nations competed for the Webb Ellis Cup in the tournament, which was hosted by France from 7 September to 20 October. France won the hosting rights in 2003,...
, replacing the Gilbert Xact used in Australia during the 2003 Rugby World Cup
The 2003 Rugby World Cup was the fifth Rugby World Cup and was won by England. Originally planned to be co-hosted by Australia and New Zealand, all games were shifted to Australia following a contractual dispute over ground signage rights between the New Zealand Rugby Football Union and Rugby World...
. The ball was introduced in time for the 2006 Autumn internationals. The Synergie differs in a number of ways from the Xact — mainly with the advancement with the technology of the matrix grip pattern. The matrix uses star-shapes instead of the conventional round shapes, resulting in superior handling, in particular in wet conditions and kicking.
A Gilbert engineer said of the Synergie that "we have been working on the new ball for Rugby World Cup 2007 for some time now and are confident that we have again developed a ball that will deliver the best all-round performance ever. A Multi Matrix grip pattern and reaction laminate construction allows the Synergie match ball to deliver improved handling whilst still maintaining the unique kicking performance of the current Xact ball".