The Rugby Football Union has issued a statement apologising for including a Victoria Cross design on the new England kits.
The Rugby Football Union has issued a statement apologising for any offence caused by including a Victoria Cross design on the new England kits.
The new shirts which retail at around Â£90, feature Victoria Cross designs that comprise numerous small rubber grips across the chest.
The governing body has come under fire for inappropriately using the symbol of the award, the British and Commonwealth armed forces' most prestigious medal.
“We would like to apologise to those who may have taken offence with our new kit. It was certainly never our intention to cause this,” read an RFU statement.
“We are huge supporters of our service personnel and respect and value their support for England.
“We have a longstanding relationship with the Royal British Legion, supporting their poppy appeal at the relevant Twickenham international every year and have helped raise over Â£2 million for them and for other service charities such as Help for Heroes.
“We will be contacting the Victoria Cross Trust and the Victoria Cross and George Cross Association to see how we can also support their worthwhile work going forwards.”
Victoria Cross Trust chaiamn Gary Stapleton said it was “frustarting” to see the images “being used for marketing purposes.”
“I think about how much work we put in and the volunteers put in and the work we do restoring the VC graves, and here's an organisation that's probably going to make quite a large amount of money from sales of said shirts,” he told the Daily Telegraph.
“It would've been a bit more appropriate if they'd said they'd like to do this because they believe what the Victoria Cross represents and would like to benefit a charity that does actually care about the history of the VC.”
Head coach Stuart Lancaster has often drawn from history is reinforce a sense of national pride in the England squad.
Lancaster created the Arthur Harrison Award which sees the coaching staff select a winner after every match for the player producing the best defensive performance.
Harrison is England's only rugby international to be awarded the Victoria Cross, bestowed posthumously after he lost his life in the First World War.
“The grip detail takes inspiration from the Victoria Cross and drawing on this symbol of valour is something of which England Rugby and Canterbury are honoured and very proud,” said the RFU a joint statement with shirt manufacturers Canterbury when the kits were released.
“We have raised a significant sum over the years for military charities such as Help for Heroes.
“For every international England Rugby hosts a group of injured service personnel and provides complimentary Twickenham tickets to several service charities.
“We have a long-standing relationship with the Royal British Legion and support their poppy appeal at the relevant Twickenham international every year.”