Last month, we took a look at some of the more batshit crazy shirts that the IRB Sevens Series has to offer. We’re still not entirely sure what compels these unions to allow the most deranged free-thinker in the office to sign off on the sevens shirt designs, but honestly, we’re glad they do it – it’s not like we have to wear them after all.
But there are, sadly some members of the tour that don’t want to send their players out in something George Campos would have stepped out in back in ’94, and actually try to try to do something that’s relatively tasteful and classy.
It’s absolutely disgusting, isn’t it?
Look we said REASONABLY tasteful, okay?
When the UAR revealed this new shirt last week, we were slightly taken aback – just look at it! Neon shirts are nothing new on the sevens circuit, but this is such an ODD colour, it really is a little unsettling. It’s that sort of weird pinky–orangey-red that if it were found anywhere on the human body, we’d recommend you getting it checked out immediately by a doctor, and the bumpy puma print pattern doesn’t help dissipate this either.
There’s actually some thought behind the colour choice, according to the release that accompanied the launch. Rather than being a random shade, apparently the colour represents the flowers of the ceibo, the national tree of Argentina, which blooms in the summer, when sevens rugby is generally played. We’re not sure how red became neon pinky-orangey-red either, but that’s probably why they pay the designers at Nike the big bucks.
We’ve been relatively impressed with the offerings that Nike have kitted out Argentina’s 15s with this year, particularly the alternate shirt, but this is a damn sight more out there. Does it work? Honestly… we’re not sure. It’s bold and memorable though, and that’s the only criteria that really matters with sevens, isn’t it?
SHIT/GOOD RATING: GOOD
Samoa have a pretty decent 15-a-side team these days (let’s pretend losing to Georgia last week didn’t happen, mmkay?), but when it comes to the sevens, Fiji have been the Pacific islands’ leading light in the last few years, leaving the 2010 champs firmly in the shade. Indeed, they currently sit below Argentina in the IRB Sevens Series standings, which is kinda like a Michael Schumacher getting lapped by your nan in a Ford Cortina, really. Oh dear.
Thankfully, BLK have ensured that while they might be struggling to perform this year, they’re at least looking pretty natty doing it. When we looked at the 15s home shirt, we liked it for its unabashed retro-awfulness, but there’s none of that here. The tribal designs sublimated into the shirt have a cutting edge look, while still being subtle enough that it doesn’t veer into Ireland away shirt levels of ugliness.
We like the way the design, which is basically the same template as this year’s Australia shirt, has been lifted by the blue contrast on the collars – it’s a pleasingly eye-catching choice that accentuates the shoulders nicely, which is quite fitting really, as that’s all that most Samoans use to tackle, anyway.
SHIT/GOOD RATING: GOOD
Oh Scotland. Scotland, Scotland, Scotland…
After the blissful high of the 15s home shirt, and the equally abysmal lows of the alternate, the sevens shirt somehow manages to combine the two in a massive conflagration of shite. It’s the rugby shirt equivalent of a hangover dump – noxious, uncomfortable, and highly embarrassing.
First things first, Scotland – we get it, purple is one of your national colours. Great. Lovely. Fine. Just stop trying to crowbar it into your fucking shirts, right? It looks shite. Do you not remember this? Dear me.
This shirt however, dubious privilege of making us completely confused as to which of three horrible things it reminds us of is actually correct. Is it a Club 18-30 Rep’s tequila-soaked polo shirt? Premier Inn toilet cleaner? Or, maybe, just maybe, it’s the outfit of a Cadbury’s World tour guide. One thing it certainly isn’t, however, is a decent rugby shirt.
SHIT/GOOD RATING: SHIT
We’ve talked at some length in the past about the pitfalls of being a kit designer for the All Blacks. In recent years, New Zealand have persuaded an aesthetic plainness that seems to be becoming ever more bare as the on-field product gets more and more boringly brilliant.
Thankfully for the sanity of some poor bloke at Adidas HQ who must see plain black shirts with silver ferns on the every time he closes his eyes, the All Blacks Sevens shirts are allowed a teeny, tiny bit of creative expression. And we mean teeny.
The Adidas stripes aside, the only thing that sets this apart from the 15s shirt is the collar, which we really like, and the side panels, which appear to be modeled on the aforementioned silver fern. It’s a nice touch, and it looks really nice, but we can’t help wishing that the NZRU would embrace the spirit of the sevens a bit more and cut loose – we loved the design of the NZ Maori shirt this year – why not try something similar, or even more daring, with the AB Sevens?
SHIT/GOOD RATING: BLANDLY GOOD