Rugby sevens – it’s the 15-a-side game’s fast-paced, exciting, soft-top roadster-driving, colourful-cocktail drinking little brother. But if there’s one thing more eye-catching than the rugby played on the IRB Sevens circuit, it’s the shirts they’re playing in.
Good god, have you seen what they’ve been letting these players run out in recently?! It’s like every sevens kit designer in the world went to a party at Walter White’s house, came home with a big ol’ bag of Blue Meth and just went crazy – it’s brilliant. We can’t wait to see what mental offerings will appear as sevens continues to grow in popularity as it builds towards the Olympics, but in the mean time, check out this selection: some good, some bad, all utterly bonkers.
The USA might not be in any danger of winning sevens gold at the Rio Olympics, but honestly, this shirt deserves a medal of its own – a medal for being absolutely frickin’ RAD. If Captain America was gonna design a rugby shirt, this would be it, and we bloody love Captain America.
The bonkers thing here is that it’s actually tasteful. Just look at it – it’s a really lovely colour, with a nice white and red band across the centre, and those stars, while pretty far out, don’t offend. It’s… yknow… classy.
SHIT/GOOD RATING: FIVE STARS
If you didn’t already know, Seviin (or is it SeVIIn? God what a shite name) is a spin off brand of BLK (which is itself a spin off from the company behind the Australian arm of KooGa) aimed exclusively at creating shirts for the sevens circuit.
It’s a bit disappointing then that this shirt is just so un-mental – surely the sevens specialists should be the leading lights in mental shirt design? What we have instead is a loud-assed shirt – lime green and yellow is just such a wrong colour combination, but we really like it here. It’s different, and gaudy, and exacty what a ‘restrained’ sevens shirt should be.
SHIT/GOOD RATING: GOOD
South Africa Sevens
Do not adjust your set – your screen hasn’t gone wrong, you’re not being sucked into some kind of temporal vortex – nope, it’s just this truly odd South African sevens shirt.
If this was just plain green with the lime piping, this would be a rather nice, tasteful 15s jersey that had a modern vibe. But it would be a pretty rubbish sevens jersey – and Canterbury’s designers know this. Nope, instead they’ve thought ‘this shirt needs more effects copied from 1990s music videos’ – and dammit, they’re right. It’s awful, ugly, crass and tacky – and we applaud them for it.
SHIT/GOOD RATING: SHIT… BUT GOOD!
Until very recently the reigning Sevens World Cup holders, Wales defended their crown in Moscow this year wearing their first ever weird alternate shirt. It’s a rite of passage that every nation has to embark on, and while if we’re being harsh, this could be a bit more crazy, it’s an admirable first effort.
We’re big fans of teams blending neon colours with more restrained ones, and there’s no denying that the neon green sets off the black very well here. The ‘dragon scale’ ArmourGrip print effect has been a recurring theme on Under Armour Wales shirts. not least the new home and away kits, but here it adds a welcome helping of oddness to the sleeves, without going down the road of dragon’s tail oddness that the 15s shirt did.
SHIT/GOOD RATING: GOOD
Looking somewhere between a rugby shirt and something you’d see a rhythmic gymnast wearing at the Olympics, it’s pretty bold for a country that has uh, had a few issues with rainbow flags in recent months… There’s something a bit too 90s about this for us though, and if you’re gonna go 90s, you might as well go full-on Global Hypercolour with it – room for improvement.
SHIT/GOOD RATING: GOOD
Perennial World Series heavyweights Fiji are no strangers to interesting designs in their shirts, incorporating plenty of tribal patterns and designs into their shirts over recent years.
This however, well, we’re not entirely sure what they’re getting at here. It’s… water, is it? Is that because Fiji’s an island? I mean, Fiji doesn’t really have the monopoly on being an island nation nation in the rugby world do they? The water looks lovely though, really – very inviting. Earlier we asked Seviin to be a bit more bold with their shirt designs – if this is what happens when they do, they’re better off playing it safe for the time being.
SHIT/GOOD RATING: SHIT
England have long been the trendsetters when it comes to gaudy, bonkers sevens shirts. First we had the risible Tequila Sunrise shirt, then we had the ‘keep safe while cycling home at night’ shirt, and then we had the ‘rejected late 1990s Radiohead album artwork’ shirt – they were, if nothing else, rather bold.
This on the other hand, is just a clusterfuck. We mean, what’s the pattern actually supposed to BE? We think we’ve got it – look closely at the middle of the shirt, what do you see? That’s right, it’s a Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle screaming in terror. The sickos.
That’s not all – asides from the front of the shirt looking like trying to watch a HD video stream on a 56k dial-up connection, the sleeves just look like they’ve come from another kit – it’s just a mess. We’re all for crazy designs, but evidence that some designing was actually done would be nice. Awful.
SHIT/GOOD RATING: PROPER SHIT