Last week, we looked at Puma’s latest, and final, Ireland home shirt. And to be quite honest, we were rather underwhelmed by the whole affair. How are we going to feel about the away shirt that seems to have all the things we didn’t like about the first one, but in a partly different colour scheme? Well…
Okay let’s get this out of the way – Ireland will call this the ‘alternate’ shirt, but Ireland play in green, so what it’s actually is, is the ‘In case we play South Africa shirt’. There’s no other reason to have it, because no other test-level nation actually plays in green bar the Springboks, so they should at least be honest about it.
Anyway, this year Ireland actually AREN’T EVEN PLAYING THE BOKS, which renders this particular effort by Puma about as worthwhile as trying to hide legendary Welsh defensive liability Arwel Thomas out on the wing when Jonah Lomu was playing for the other side. Yup, following in the footsteps of England, Ireland have for some reason turned out an alternate kit that is entirely unnecessary, and as such will contrive a reason to wear it this Autumn for no reason – our money’s on the All Blacks.
On the surface, it’s not actually any different to the home shirt, which is of course as potentially fatal a liability as Ronan O’Gara’s genetic predisposition to tackle like a child of five.
Like the aforementioned ruddy-cheeked Ireland legend/Lions villain however, this shirt somehow manages to be more than the sum of its admittedly shitty and unsatisfactory parts. We’re not saying that it’s nice or anything, because it’s really not, and the Tron bollocks grip tape still looks shit… but… well it’s not as shit.
The grip tape pattern actually looks more part of the design contrasting starkly against the white, whereas it felt like a total afterthought on the home shirt. We also can’t help but like the green sleeves and collar with the white front actually kinda works.
We can’t quite work out why we don’t utterly hate this. Maybe we left the oven on this evening and we’re in the closing stages of of the blissful oblivion of oxygen deprivation. At least when England released their pointless away shirt, it was a bold and radically different design from the home kit – we can see the worth in that, even if it is a bit superfluous. When a supplier just swaps some colours around and call that the alternate kit, however, even when those colours kinda work, it doesn’t really do much but leave us cold.
SHIT/GOOD RATING: Shit and pointless