Jonah Lomu 'dumbfounded' by England's black rugby strip
The Rugby Football Union has revealed the England team will wear the new second strip for the home international against Wales on 6 August and then for their opening World Cup match against Argentina on 10 September.
The move has been met with derision in New Zealand, who will host the 9 September to 23 October tournament, and the hulking former All Black winger has also thrown his considerable weight behind those questioning England's plans. "I find it really weird," Lomu said.
"When I saw the picture, I was just saying, 'One thing is for sure, the All Blacks are the original and anybody who is after the original is an imitator'.
"England don't need to do that, they don't need to wear it. They are synonymous with wearing white. We have always known them in the white shirt and it's a huge step in a different direction from the history they have had."
Lomu, speaking to business leaders in Singapore as part of his role as World Cup ambassador, showed a surprising amount of concern for the white shirt of England, considering how he used to barge through all who wore it during his playing days.
In the 1995 World Cup in South Africa, Lomu, aged 20, became a global icon after running over England back Mike Catt en route to scoring four tries in a quarter-final victory that led to defeated captain Will Carling describing the All Black as a freak.
"I have always loved playing England when they are wearing their white shirts and I pride myself on playing against them and I made my name playing against them in that white shirt.
"To see that go in a completely opposite way, I'm dumbfounded. When you talk about England they show us what tradition is all about in rugby but also New Zealanders pride themselves on their tradition. We (New Zealand] have had big sports brand companies who have come on board but (the shirt is] not hugely branded, they haven't changed anything apart from keeping rich to the history and by bringing different technologies to the shirt, whereas this is in a completely different direction."
On Friday, an RFU spokesman said the New Zealand Rugby Union had no issues with the side's choice of kit.
England have also attracted negative headlines after manager Martin Johnson named 13 overseas-born players in his 45-man pre-World Cup squad
However, the prospect of South African and Pacific Island accents singing the English national anthem ahead of World Cup matches does not bother Lomu as much as their shirt colour.
"This is what professional rugby is and at the same time these players have got an opportunity and have taken it," Lomu said.
"Everybody can complain but it is within the rules. We can't do anything about it."It's part and parcel of the rules and you can keep complaining about it, but it is going to fall on deaf ears."