The Welsh Rugby Union and Under Armour have revealed the new design for the Wales 2013 home shirt. And it’s not without a fair bit of controversy: check it out…
So there we are! Before we get into the really controversial aspects of this kit, let’s take the shirt on its own merits. And doing that, you have to say, this is a really, really smart offering from the WRU. Under Armour has different approach to what other brands are doing in terms of kit design, and where the likes of Canterbury are looking to more classic styles, as we saw with the recent England shirt, UA are unabashedly modern, and here it works.
There are plenty of clever details here that make the shirt stand out from traiditional Wales shirts , not least, the near-total absence of white. In the last few years, Under Armour Wales shirts have probably gone a bit overboard with the white, really, but here black and dark red are the colours of choice, with the contrast shoulder patches (also seen on this year’s Clermont kits) accented by the ‘dragon’s tail’ motif on the sleeve.
It’s very similar to the current Clermont kit actually, with the same combination of the ‘ArmourGrid’ fabric, that gives the jersey its hatching effect, and the ‘Function Panel’ design, where the kit is stitched together from numerous different panels to enhance freedom of movement. Mercifully, they’ve also got rid of the stupid ‘tongue’ on the front of the shirt from the 2011-13 model, which while looking fine with an UA logo on it on the RWC version, looked SHIT on the regular one.
The dragon theme from the sleeve continues on the front of the shirt, where we see a Dragon Scale pattern Armour Grip material that’s identical (but not nearly as garish) as the pattern on the sleeves of the current Wales 7s shirt. We also really like the side-venting, moving from black through grey to white, it adds a welcome splash of interest and colour to the shirt while also paving the way for what happens on the shorts, which, despite being a rugby shirt site, we can’t really ignore…
Yup, there’s no getting away from it, those shorts are unavoidably, inescapably, RED. We heard rumours that about this earlier today, and honestly, we were utterly horrified. Wales play in red shirts, white shorts – they dallied with black at the start of the 2000s, and it was a disaster, but red? RED!? We had visions of Liverpool, of Toulon – it was going to be AWFUL.
And yet… hats off to Under Armour, because we think they’ve done a pretty damn good job. Brilliantly, by fading from grey down to white on the panel of the shorts, they’ve managed to make it look less blocky and monotone, and have actually produced something that hits the sweet spot between keeping true to the norm while also pushing the boundaries.
Is it going to take some getting used to? Definitely. Is it bold and interesting. Definitely. Does it look good. We have to say, it really does. Top marks.
SHIT/GOOD RATING: GOOD