This afternoon, England and Canterbury launched the new home shirt at Bruntcliffe School, just outside of Leeds, and because we care so damn much about rugby shirts, and YOU, we ventured so far north that we couldn’t understand anyone’s accents and we nearly crashed several times gawping at the lovely scenery, just to bring YOU an in-depth first look at the kit England will be running out in for the next 12 months. Also, there was a buffet.
So there it is – the new England shirt in all it’s glory. And to be honest, even a non-England fan would be hard-pressed to say that this is anything other than an extremely nice shirt. In the build up to the big kit reveal, all the talk was of tradition and heritage, about a shirt that the whole nation can be proud to wear. And looking at this shirt, you’d have to say they’ve got it spot on – it takes the tasteful and restrained look of last year’s shirt, but goes a bit further, adding noticeable little touches of colour and interest.
The most striking break from the norm with this England shirt is of course those hoops on the sleeves. When Canterbury took over the England kit supplier job, they brought back the traditional midnight blue socks. The hoops therefore, reflect that, being an unusual and pretty effective hint of blue that works well with the socks, and chimes nicely with the chest sponsor (that’s definitely a darker blue this year) and shirt number.
Other than that, it’s pretty much what you’d expect – it’s an England shirt, and as we said in our review of the away shirt, Canterbury were never going to give us anything other than a subtle, classic home shirt to contrast with the substantially more out there away jersey. That said, while at a distance it might look pretty plain, there are some nice little devices we noticed when we were up close with the shirt. For starters, the CCC logo is much lower on the shoulder than on the away shirt – we thought that it might be a permanent shift in Canterbury designs, but it appears that it’s purely a style thing. Also, the grip-material on the front of the shirt is striped, which we presume is a nod to the ‘Red Stripes Vs White Stripes’ marketing campaign that went on in the lead up to the away shirt’s launch – it’s worth noting that these stripes are much more evident on the supporter’s shirt, as you can see below.
All in all, this has to be considered a massively good job by the folks at Canterbury – it hits the sweet spot between classic and modern, while being as inoffensive to pretty much everyone. It’s not exactly reinventing the wheel, but as we’ve said many times before: THAT’S WHAT THE AWAY KIT IS FOR.
SHIT/GOOD RATING: GOOD
Rugby Shirt Watch would like to extend our thanks to Canterbury and the RFU for inviting us to cover the kit launch, and a MASSIVE thank you to Kate Gomersall and the staff at Bruntcliffe School for hosting the event and going above and beyond in helping us out!