Product Type: Gilbert Ball Sport
Newest Review: ... and Junior Rugby. * Conforms to IRB size and specifications. ~Review~ I have used the ball, size 5, for training at club level. ... more
Field of Dreams
Gilbert Zenon Rugby Training Ball
Member Name: Jake Speed
Gilbert Zenon Rugby Training Ball
Date: 22/10/10, updated on 22/10/10 (100 review reads)
Advantages: Quality ball at a reasonable price
Disadvantages: Nothing too evident
At my old working class school, which I hope has been demolished by now, there wasn't a rugby ball in sight. Rugby (and I'm talking about Rugby Union) was a distant game played by middle class children and we made do with football, a bit of good old cricket, and the dreaded cross country run in the depths of winter where our main priority was not completing the run in record time but finding the best short cut through the orchards. My short cut was genius and probably deserved an award. I have never had any desire to go to a rugby match or play rugby in a team and can't say I understand the rules much (it does seem to be one of those sports where the whistle goes every two minutes and they all stop for reasons that frequently baffle even the commentators) but I do have a Gilbert Zenon Rugby Training Ball that my brother got hold of a while back and I've discovered that booting a rugby ball back and forth between two or more people in a big park or field is almost as much fun as booting a football back and forth. It is surprisingly satisfying to hold a rugby ball in your hands and see how high you can launch it with an almighty hoof. Plus of course the added fun and drama of seeing if the other person can catch it.
The Gilbert Zenon Rugby Training Ball comes in sizes 3, 5 & 4 and you can choose between black or red when it comes to colours. It can currently be purchased for around £10 online and conforms to IRB specifications. It's billed as a high performance training ball that can be used in all types of weather and is said to be excellent for developing handling and kicking skills. The ball is Hydratec and the technical fabrics and external waterproof laminations are combined to improve and increase the life and performance of the ball. I'm not quite sure what that all means but it sounds impressive anyway! It also has a 3 ply cotton rubber laminate construction, is hand stitched and has a durable rubber surface. The ball is said to be excellent for drills and training in rugby clubs and schools and has a good grip. I'm not an expert on rugby balls (no, honestly) but it does appear to have an excellent shape and feel to my unprofessional eyes and, er, hands.
The first time I had a kick about with this with someone I thought it might be a bit boring to be honest but whacking a rugby ball around is actually great fun. The fact that you have to try and catch it is really good fun too and I like the process where you hold the ball out in front of you in outstretched arms and contemplate which spot you are going belt as hard as you can to achieve maximum effect. Rugby balls make a wonderful little thud when you boot one and then you can watch it shoot off into the sky and spin down again. The main fun is watching the other person (or persons) shuffling around trying to gauge where it will land and then trying to catch it. I do find you have to be very careful about where you kick this though. I have let the ball slip in my hands and belted one of those pointy bits at either end of the ball and this can hurt your foot. It doesn't happen very often but it is annoying when it does.
In addition to kicking the ball as hard as you can it's also quite good fun to throw it to one another to catch and whizz back. The ball does have a good sense of weight and is also quite easy to grip. I have used in this in different periods of the year and it always feels the same, whether you are playing in the height of summer or the depths of winter. I don't personally kick a rugby ball around in pouring rain myself (!) but the ball is waterproof and designed for all eventualities and so can be used for clubs and schools who, unavoidably, will end up playing in the rain sooner or later. Obviously, the fact that you purchase this ball in different sizes means that you can get one (or however many you want) appropriate to the size and age of the players who will be making use of it. Another thing that is quite good fun is goalkicking, where you place the ball on the ground pointed up and then have to kick it through the posts. My local park has rugby posts up most of the time so I have tried this but you can use imaginary goalposts I suppose. This goalkicking malarkey is far difficult than it looks on the telly.
Although I'm mainly a boxing and football person myself and don't follow rugby, I'm really glad that I somehow ended up with a rugby ball and have had a lot of fun with this. I can see how this ball would be excellent for schools and clubs to use and it seems to be of a very commendable quality and standard too considering you can pick this up for a tenner. The ball is very sturdy and durable and as it is primarily designed for rugby clubs and schools you'd get great value out of this if you just used it occasionally for a boot around in the park. If you've ever felt the urge to own a rugby ball or need to get hold of a few for your school or whatever you could do a lot worse than the Gilbert Zenon Rugby Training Ball.
Summary: Pretty good