Aviva Premiership 2013/14 Shirt Round-up – Part 2

Last time out, we checked out new shirts from Leicester, Bath, Gloucester, Worcester and Exeter. Now, with the start of the 2013/14 Aviva Premiership season just a few days away, let’s round-up the rest of the new (and not so new) jerseys you’ll be watching take the field in grounds up and down the land this weekend.

London Irish

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The Reading-based ex-pat club have been working with Aussie-based rugby league specialists ISC for a few years now, and by and large, they’ve produced some tasteful, if unspectacular shirts, that were hard not to like. This year however, is a big step into the striking, with the unmistakably rugby league-esque ‘V’ on the front of the shirt, and a fair few more contrasting colours than we’ve seen in a while.

The cynic in us says that it’s a bit sad that Irish have basically been palmed off with a palette-swapped version of this year’s St Helens shirt especially given that ISC only has a few footholds in the union world. But there’s no denying that it’s striking, and pretty handsome, and it’s nice to see some colour on an Irish shirt, as they’ve been very demure affairs of late. We’re not hugely keen on the bright green ‘roof’ on the front of the shirt, but the red piping is a nice throwback to the St George’s Cross on the club badge. All in all, we have our reservations about the effort involved, but the results work.

SHIT/GOOD RATING: GOOD

London Wasps

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Maybe there’s some kind of gas leak in the Rugby Shirt Watch office, maybe that shady looking bloke who offered us those delicious brownies on the street corner wasn’t entirely legit, or maybe we’ve got some kind of massive, judgement-impairing tumour growing on our brain, but… we really, really like this new Wasps shirt. We’ve eulogised about our love of black and yellow before, but unlike other Wasps shirts we’ve loved in the past, there’s no bumblebee hoops here, and yet… it’s just lovely isn’t it? It’s clean, modern and stylish, using the yellow to tease and draw the eye, while not being overly gaudy, or too boring. We’ve questioned Kukri’s effort recently, regarding the cookie-cutter new Ulster shirt, but this is a big, big improvement for all concerned.

SHIT/GOOD RATING: GOOD

Sale Sharks

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We were a bit mean about Exeter’s rather bland Samurai shirt in the first part of our round-up, but the last thing you can accuse this of is blandness. Generally, large graphic motifs such as this look truly awful on a shirt, but the way the shark fin has been accommodated into the shirt design, and the way that it compliments the rather lovely (rather Bristol) hoops, is proof positive that ‘modern’ shirt designs can look good if they’re done well. Now if only Samurai could do something about that tacky logo…

SHIT/GOOD RATING: GOOD

Newcastle

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Back in the Premiership after being relegated in 2012, the Falcons return to the Premiership with a kit that’s um… black? The Falcons made a big deal of being ‘Back in black’ when they were down in the Championship last season, after experimenting with various grey and white additions to their primary colour, but we can’t help but wish that Orion Sports had taken them a bit less literally. Whereas the Wasps shirt above manages to make a black shirt interesting, there’s just so little going on here, it’s just kind of… dull… There’s nothing bad about it, asides from the fact that it’s a near-carbon copy of the current All Blacks shirt, but it’s just so deeply uninspiring, it’s hard to get excited about.

SHIT/GOOD RATING: BLANDLY GOOD

Harlequins

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The Quins shirt design is a timeless classic that is wrapped up in over 100 years of history, success and controversy. It is also, undeniably, inescapably horrid. Just look at it – from an aesthetic point of view, it could only have been designed in an age where society was so dreadfully repressed that the first chance someone got the chance to used a bit of colour in their garment design, they just went crazy and used them all. There’s TWO shades of brown for fuck’s sake. TWO.

Anyway, putting aside our natural indignation towards the Quins colours, and judging this new shirt on its own merits it’s… uh, still a dog. When you’ve got a four-colour harlequin thing going on on the front of the thing, what on earth would possess you, and yes we are talking to you, O’Neills kit designer, what would possess you to add STRIPES to the sleeves? And that awful black framing? Seriously, this shirt looks like it’s been cobbled together from even more unpleasant parts than the usual Quins effort, and that’s saying something.

SHIT/GOOD RATING: EVEN SHITTER THAN USUAL

The Not-So-New Guys…

In addition to the shirts we’ve shown you thus far, two team have stuck with their 2012/13 shirts for this season, and while we might have preferred to see even more shiny new shirts this year, we applaud their commitment to not fleecing their fans of £60-odd quid every single year for a new top.

Saracens

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We hated those top-half stripes the first time we saw them, but honestly, it’s not bad, and it’s pretty distinctive, which compared to the old black and red Sarries shirts, is a massive step forward. There’s still no excusing wearing a bloody fez, mind…

SHIT/GOOD RATING: GOOD

Northampton Saints

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Burrda have shown themselves to be capable of both ends of the Shit/Good spectrum over the last few years, but we have to say, we really like this – keeping the Saints hoops while not allowing them to overpower the look of the jersey is a nice touch, and the Burrda wave is as subtle as can be.

SHIT/GOOD: GOOD

Well there you have it, 12 teams, 12 shirts, 10 new ones, and a lot of nonsense opinion. Enjoy the Aviva Premiership season, and be sure to check back to get all the latest rugby shirt news and views.

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