France Rugby Adidas 2013/14 Home Shirt

This afternoon, Adidas revealed the new shirt for the France national side. Let’s take a look at what Les Bleus will be running out in for the next year.

France

If your first reaction is a bit of déjà vu, then you’re not alone – and there’s a very good reason for that – it’s pretty much identical in its basic design to this year’s Lions shirt. It’s also back to the darker shade of blue than last year’s shirt, and dispenses with the ridiculous stripes across the front, which we always felt made the French side like a bunch of budget travel company reps, and to be honest they played like it a lot of the time, too…

The Lions shirt comparisons are no bad thing of course – it’s one of our favourite shirts of recent years, and on first impression it’s adopted a lot of the design features from it that we really loved. For starters, there’s that collar. It’s not exactly a classic rugby shirt collar, but it’s probably the closest we’re likely to get on a modern design, and we think it looks lovely. It’s also got the same subtle hooping that the Lions shirt has, which from a distance looks rather nice indeed. Up close, however, it’s a bit less clean cut.

FranceDetail

As you can see, unlike the Lions shirt, where different shades of red were used, a herringbone effect that gets either wider or tighter-spaced in different sections is used to create the hooping effect. To be honest with you, we’re not too sure about it – it’s pretty decent from a distance, but up front, it’s a bit too busy. Especially when you consider that the pattern isn’t continued onto the sleeves.

Indeed, the contrast between the shade of blue in the sleeves and the blue of the shirt is a bit of an odd one. Is it supposed to be that way, or is it just a result of the herringbone effect on the front making it look different? Could the two shades of blue perhaps be Adidas’s attempt to reflect the mythical ‘two French teams that might turn up?’ The front shade perhaps reflecting the French team that plays rugby like a team of nonchalant gods who could put 50 points on you while smoking Gitanes and chatting up your missus, and the shoulder shade representing the other France, who can barely string three passes together and bumble around the field like 15 Inspector Clouseaus. Adidas – let us know.

FranceStripes

One feature of last year’s jersey that we really liked, and we’re glad to see continued on this year’s design is the ‘Frenching’ of the Adidas stripes. Filling in the stripe gaps with red and light blue is a nice nod to the Tricolore, without being too on the nose. While we like the stripe effect, however, they’re also the part of the shirt that has raised the most eyebrows. Why? Well, let’s take a look at the back…

FranceBack

Yup, they go around. ALLLLLLL the way round. We’ve seen something similar used on other Adidas shirts, but this is by far the most eye-catching and polarising way we’ve seen it done. It just looks a bit like whoever’s wearing the shirt is wearing some kind of immensely patriotic scarf or shrug. And while French players might be a bit more cosmopolitan than most other players in the rugby world, this is a bit much, even for them…

This shirt really is a tale of two halves – even with the houndstooth pattern, we really like the shirt from the front, but the back is a bit of a car crash. On the whole though, we think it’s more good than bad – though seeing Dimitri Szarzewski rocking up in it looking feathered and lethal could always change that…

SHIT/GOOD RATING: Bon. Ish.

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