There’s a wet, wooly, over-sensitive lefty part of Rugby Shirt Watch that is made ever so slightly uncomfortable when teams use nicknames that have a certain cultural resonance that is perhaps not the most PC. The Crusaders name is one of those – we’re sure that nobody in Canterbury gives it a second thought, and to be honest, most of the time neither do we. Occasionally, however, something reminds us of it, and we’re left with an unfortunate mental image of a bunch of posh Europeans running around the Middle East stabbing people and nicking their stuff, when we should be thinking about the fact that McCaw’s offside again.

Thankfully, it’s just a name, and 99% of the time we can forget any of the unfortunate connotations and are free to enjoy watching the Crusaders be almost superhumanly brilliant at rugby.

Or we should say, that WAS the case. Because those reminders are going to be a tad more frequent now that they’ve gone and covered the front of their jersey with FUCKING CHAINMAIL. Now, before we get into this, let’s not forget that last season’s Crusaders shirt was one of our favourite jerseys ever – it was almost the perfect modern rugby shirt that was clean, simple, classy and – and this point is fucking KEY here – decidedly un-chainmaily.

This year’s effort, on the other hand, is a massive pile of shit. Even if you completely disregard our oversensitive PC gone mad whinging, there’s no getting away from the fact that, as a pattern, it looks absolutely fucking SHITE.


And as you can see, the away shirt is actually, somehow, much, much worse. Not only does this look more like real chainmail, making it about 300% more tacky with it, it somehow manages to not look like any kind of medieval armour. In fact, it looks more like the sort of thing you’d pair with a set of leather chaps and some hard house music in a Berlin back-street nightclub.

Adidas have a laudable commitment to pushing the boundaries with rugby shirt design, and always trying to create something that’s modern and forward-thinking. This time however, they have utterly, completely screwed the pooch, and turned out two of the worst shirts we’ll see this year.




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