If you’re at all paying attention to the going ons in the world of rugby, you’ll probably know that the state of cross-border European rugby can be best described as ‘third month of ill-advised holiday shotgun wedding’ on the RSW scale of bitching, sniping and general horribleness.
We really hope the powers that be get their heads together, put aside their differences and sort out this mess, because if there’s no Heineken Cup, there’s no Heineken Cup shirts, and what a massive loss to lovers of weird and wonderful rugby shirts that would be. I mean, how else are kit designers every going to get the freedom to try something like this? Or this? Or THIS?!
If away shirts give designers the opportunity to spread their creative wings, then European shirts is an excuse for them to go and pick some of those weird looking mushrooms at the bottom of the garden, throw on some jazz, and just fucking let rip. We love it – they might not be that tasteful, but that’s the point, and here are some of the weird and wonderful Euro shirts you’ll see in this year’s tournament…
The Blues are, ironically, no strangers to the notion of a pink shirt , but past forays into that end of the spectrum have been a bit meh (or in the case of the pink and white ‘Battenberg’ effort, ‘fucking atrocious’), and lacking any kind of design spark.
This time around, however, Canterbury have absolutely smashed it out of the park. Lots of people have rather strong feelings about the use of pink in men’s clothing, and if we’re honest, we’re not exactly sure that we’d feel totally at ease walking in to our local wearing an electric-pink rugby shirt, but frankly, that’s by the by. You can’t deny that dark blue and pink work really well together, and honestly, it’s about as tasteful as something that could double as high-visibility cycling attire could be. Nice.
SHIT/GOOD RATING: GOOD
As we’ve already seen, Exeter and Samurai haven’t shied away from going down the garishly crazy Heineken Cup shirt route in the few short seasons they’ve been involved in the competition, and by their own batshit standards, to be honest, this one is almost tasteful…
Stick with us here.
For starters, it’s blue and black – two colours that all but the most Bath/Cardiff/Bristol-loathing fan couldn’t object to. And yeah, the design is, frankly mental – all chief heads and native American motifs, but it’s certainly eye-catching and uh…
Okay we give up, we can’t keep it up for any long – sorry, Exeter, we like your regular kits well enough, but this is just awful. We know we spent far too many words eulogising the brilliance of crazy Heineken Cup shirt designs earlier, but we can’t in good conscience say this thing is anything other than UGLY.
SHIT/GOOD RATING: SHIT
Back in the big time after a few years down in the Amlin Cup, Perpignan’s most significant contribution to the Heineken Cup the last time they were in it was to commit one of the most scandalous shirt hate crimes ever visited upon the tournament.
This time around, things couldn’t be more different. Following on from a rather lovely offering in both their home and away jerseys, the good folks at Errea have come up with an European shirt that ticks all the boxes.
Unlike many Euro shirts, this keeps things very classy and restrained, and is all the better for it. We really like the pinstriping across the front of the shirts, incorporating the blue of the home shirt, combined with the Catalan colours of red and yellow. It’s a clever little motif, and it works.
If anything, you could perhaps say that it’s a bit too restrained for its own good – a little forgettable and bland – but while it might not be a shirt that sticks in your mind for good reasons, it’s not etched, horrifically into our eyeballs either, which has to be a step forward…
SHIT/GOOD RATING: GOOD
Check back soon for the second part of our Heineken Cup shirt round-up.