The 2013 ITM Cup kicks off in New Zealand this week, and what better way for us to tip our cap in its direction than to pick out some of the good, the bad and the what-were-you-smoking from the shirts the players will be donning this year.
Harbour might only be in the second tier of the ITM Cup this year, but they’re top of the Premiership in the gorgeous shirts tournament. The single contrasted stripe motif might feel a bit rugby league, but honestly, when it looks this good, how can you complain?
Oh Taranaki, your kit might not have changed in any meaningful way for about five years, but when you’re this lovely, how can we be bothered? If North Harbour are the champions of our little round-up, then Taranaki are the Ranfurly Shield holders – it might not be the big win, but by being consistently brilliant, you still hold onto your silverware…
Okay, let’s get this out of the way. If you’re a sports team, and your name is the name of the premier kit supplier/designer for your sport in the world, because you both come from the same place, seriously, just go ahead and get your kit from them. It’s stupid. So, BLK has a bit of an uphill struggle here as you can tell, but they’ve not helped themselves one bit. The Canterbury jersey is a classic one, and to be honest, it doesn’t need messing with, and as with many ‘new’ names on the rugby apparel scene, they’ve gone for over-complication instead of innovation. To be honest, it just looks like the current Saracens jersey upside down, and there’s far too much black going on.
This is so close to being a great jersey, it’s maddening. It’s clean, modern, with some nice little flourishes around the sleeves that catch the eye without being too busy… and then they went and stuck a fucking dragon on it. I understand that the taniwha is Northland’s mascot, and without it, people might have mistaken this for a Waratahs or Blue Bulls shirt, but seriously, there has to be a less tacky way to set yourself apart guys!
THE FUCK UGLY
Oh, Otago… We know that bright blue and yellow is a difficult colour combination to work with: that’s why the Highlanders jersey is always the worst of the palette-swapped NZ Super Rugby Adidas shirts. But was the solution really to say, ‘Fuck it, it’s going to look bad anyway, we might as well go full-on grotesque’? It’s like a cross between a jockey’s colours and some curtains my gran used to have in her spare bedroom – without doubt would have been the nadir of this year’s ITM Cup crop if not for…
Taranaki (Raging Bull)
Oh Taranaki, I thought thought you were cool? I thought you were supposed to be mister consistent with your classy bumblebee hoops? And then you turn around and offer this textile abortion as your alternate kit? For shame. They’ve cleverly called this shirt the ‘raging bull’ shirt, because, as you can see, for some fucking reason, there’s a drawing of an angry bovine in the middle of the shirt… and then… I can barely bring myself to say it… there’s fucking barbed wire all over it. Barbed wire. Because nothing says classy like barbed wire on your shirt. Or tattooed on your bicep. Taranaki, it’s time to hand back the Shield, and be sure to give Canterbury a kick up the arse on your way back.
Well, there it is, our round-up of the best and worst shirts from the 2013 ITM Cup. Check back soon, where we’ll be running the rule over the new kits for all the major tournaments and competitions.