This week Canterbury (of New Zealand and no longer the Northern Hemisphere) and Scotland launched the new rugby kit that will see our national team through the upcoming World Cup, and beyond. Reaction to it so far seems to be mixed (check out our FB poll to let us know what you think), so I thought I would take a look…
First, there is the “iconic” gold. This seems to be the thing that has most people on Twitter etc riled up, given the colour’s previous absence from national rugby kits – how it can be “iconic” and yet also a national first beats me. It has featured on football kits in the past and of course the Royal Standard of Scotland is mostly gold, so I guess it might depend on your politics/wish to separate yourself from football as to whether there is a place for it. But it’s not a massive amount of gold, and if they got rid of the stripe across the belly – which is going to suit some bellies more than others and is hidden here by big Richie’s massive forearms – then it would be no more than that of the new non-Springbok Springbok kit.
Both items are part of Canterbury’s new cutting edge shirt technology which seems to have a fancy collar, plus selective high and low friction areas (grippy and shiny bits) varied by position to allow you to hold on to the ball/bind in the scrum/slip out of tackles better. The shiny bits probably won’t be present on the fan jersey, but whether the supporter’s version has a grippy bit on the sleeve to allow you to hold on to 6 plastic pints at one time is unclear at this stage.
Scotland head coach Andy Robinson said: “We have been delighted to welcome some of Canterbury’s senior product development staff to our training camps in order that we could play our part in assisting in the development of this innovative new kit.
“In international sport we are all searching for something that will give us a legitimate edge and we look forward to wearing our new Canterbury kit at the Rugby World Cup.”
Chris Stephenson, Canterbury CEO, said: “The new kit is our most sophisticated to date and, as always, we have relished the challenge to release a tougher yet lighter jersey that will be showcased at this year’s Rugby World Cup.
“We are proud to be associated with Scotland throughout and beyond the Rugby World Cup and it is our privilege to support them in the best way we can, with the best jersey a player can wear. We look forward to seeing them in action in New Zealand later this year.”
Other complaints I’ve seen have suggested that the change kit shorts look a little like Y-fronts with the pattern on them, but that’s a bit harsh and it could be worse: the shirt could look like you are wearing some sort of strange hexagonal bra. Sure to look good on A.D.’s favourite lawbreaker. Indeed I’ve seen plenty of comments from non Scots who think the new kit is pretty sweet!
Blue and gold have always gone together (London Monarchs anyone?) but after early leaked Canterbury photos and artwork suggested a move towards a lighter royal (that word again, sorry any republicans out there) blue which would, frankly, not have been on, a flurry of pictures from Murrayfield yesterday allayed our fears. I am sure initially it will look a little strange – the last one did in 2007, but we got used to it and Canterbury refined it to the most recent one which was well-received. The players seem to like it, it does look kind of cool and it’s still the right shade of navy (I think), and that really is the most important thing.
Or rather, the most important thing is what the team do on the field, whilst wearing the navy and gold, or white and navy, or purple, or orange, or whatever it changes to next.
Surely the only way a kit would really interfere with your own or the opposition’s performance would be a shirt the same colour as a generic crowd, and shorts of spring green to match the pitch. Probably the new Edinburgh 1872 Cup strip then…