Traditionally, kit launches in South Africa haven’t had a great deal of fanfare or gimmickry associated with them, certainly not in relation to a Super Rugby side. So when Puma not only created an online marketing campaign ahead of the launch of the new Bulls shirts, but did so with the aid of this actually pretty cool YouTube video and the  intriguing ‘invisiBull’ slogan, we were pretty excited.

Given the seemingly terminal case of not-giving a shit that Puma seemed to suffer from with the new Ireland home and alternate shirts, we were pretty keen to see if this would be Puma showing that they still cared about rugby, while also showing that they still have some design juice left in the tank.

Well. Um. Oh dear.Let’s get this out of the way here. That is an unapologetically fuck-ugly piece of rugby shirt vandalism, even by the Bulls’ pretty deplorable standards. Let’s not forget, this is the team that last year sported shirts that looked like they’d been modelled after Superman’s Fortress Of Solitude.

We understand the Bulls have been pushing things, design-wise, to create a bit of distance between themselves and the classic look of the Blue Bulls Currie Cup team, and if that’s their only goal, then mission accomplished, because the Blue Bulls shirt is without fail utterly gorgeous, and this is an absolute dog egg.

For starters, let’s not beat around the bush – camo patterns on sports shirts are at the same time hideously tacky and borderline insensitive. The language of warfare is often used about sport, and about rugby in particular, but let’s not pretend for a minute that playing a game and getting shot at are in any way comparable. Stop it.

But at least they’re showing a little bit of creativity and ingenuity, right? Well, check out the current home shirt of Greene King Championship side Bedford Blues, released in August, and then tell us if you think they’re really being that original…

And then there’s what we can only describe as ‘The Fucking Away Shirt’…


Just look at this nonsense. Seriously. What the actual fuck? While the home shirt is, by some small measure, at least subtle in its appropriation of the camo pattern, this thing might as well be sold with a free M-16 with every purchase.

Honestly, this shirt has gone down like a shit-filled lead balloon on Twitter, as you’d expect, but what exactly is the thinking behind The Fucking Away Shirt? Did Puma’s designers think that a full-on camo pattern would go down well with the (presumably massive) hunting demographic of the Bulls fan base? “Ah look at this Eugene, now ah can go from Loftus straight to the bush and not even need to change mah shirt!” (we’re so sorry…)

In reality, it seems that the decision was even more depressing than that – it’s all about fashion. The camo patterns were chosen because they are, and we quote, “a major seasonal fashion trend across the globe”. Whether that’s true or not, there’s something deeply depressing about that. It’s dad-at-the-disco levels of embarrassing – we’re all for engaging with younger fans, but statements and decisions like this look about as down with the kids as this.

So, Puma. When they don’t try, it’s pretty shit. When they do try, it’s REALLY shit. Maybe the solution’s just for them not to bother?




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