The Central Cheetahs are, in many ways, the forgotten team of South African Super Rugby. They’ve not had the high profile or on-field success that keep the Bulls, Stormers and Sharks in the casual fan’s conciousness, and equally, they’ve not been bad enough to get drawn into the headline-grabbing rigmarole like the Kings and the Lions. The Cheetahs usually get somewhat lost in all this, but with their new kit from Puma, there’s very little chance of them being ignored…
We’ll get this out of the way early doors. In recent months, we’ve been rather, to be blunt, unkind to Puma. First there was the rather uninspiring weirdness that was the Ireland home and away shirts, which, to be honest, we absolutely hated. And… then we had the new Bulls home and away shirts. Well we say shirts… complete catastrophic camo clusterfuck would be more appropriate. Eugh.
And so what on earth can we make of this? We mean just look at it! There’s more zig-zagging lines than Saturday afternoon at Disneyland, and more colours than a Benetton convention. On paper, this is a shit sandwich of the highest order.
So why on earth do we like it so much?
Well, part of it has to do with the nice use of colour. The Cheetahs shirt has long been a bit of a troublesome one for designers – incorporating the white and orange of Free State, the turquoise of The Griquas and Northern Free State’s purple has proved quite troublesome.
Here however, it all just… works. The orange, white and turquoise all look fantastic together, particularly with the large turquoise side panels, and the purple sleeve cuffs are dark enough that they don’t clash too much – it’s a nice and successful evolution from last year.
But, and we’re sure you’re all thinking this too, WHAT ABOUT THAT SHIT ON THE FRONT?!
Well… we admit it shouldn’t work, on paper at least, but there’s something about those chevrons that just seem to work. Maybe all those blows to the head we took at the bottom of rucks in our schoolboy days are starting to catch up with us, but we think it’s modern, bold and, surprisingly for Puma at the moment, not a complete fucking car crash.
We’re less keen on the alternate jersey, to be honest. Retaining the grey front panel with the orange chevrons on the front just doesn’t work. It looks more like something you’d use to direct planes to their appropriate terminal than a rugby shirt, really. A step too far in the zany design stakes we think.
That said, both of these shirts prove that, even though they look to be moving away from rugby in some areas, the German brand is still able to produce new, interesting and challenging designs, and that’s more than we thought about Puma in November.
SHIT GOOD RATING: GOOD