The RFU and Canterbury have unveiled the latest shirts the England Sevens team will be trotting out today. The timing of these releases always slightly befuddles us, as the IRB Sevens series has been in full swing for some time now – why release a new kit mid-season? That said, it’s freaking April – new shirt releases are proverbial rocking horse shit at this time of year, so we will seize upon it like a roomful of grannies on a bag of Murray Mints – thanks England!
The precise timing of the shirt launch is certainly not at random, however – launching as they have, on St George’s day. A closer look at the design on both shirts will see that no, these aren’t polka dots emblazoned across the front of each jersey, they are in fact a combination of crosses that are, says Canterbury in their launch PR, ‘inspired by St George and the George Cross medal’.
Now, we know that some people get inordinately, unreasonably cross when sports teams put their national flag on their shirts. To these people, Canterbury sticking a St George’s cross on an England shirt is somewhat akin to sending James Haskell round to their house for tea – a horrible and unwelcome insult.
We’re not quite so sensitive about these things, however, and the only issue we do have with it is that, at first glance, we worried that England had fully embraced their hip-hop side and had gone full Louis Vuitton with it…
The alternate shirt is midnight blue – a colour that Canterbury have been keen to emphasise this year, bringing the traditional sock colour back with this year’s 15s shirts, and sticking it on the sleeve hoops for good measure.
We’re not entirely sure that the colour works as well with the George crosses as it does on the home shirt, but let’s take a moment to remember that this shirt is neither fucking Tequila Sunrise, nor appears to have a low-res JPEG image emblazoned on the front of it, so in our book this DEFINITELY a step forward.
Common to both jerseys is a nice little touch on the sleeve hoops – seven stripes to represent the seven players in the team, and presumably related to the ‘Seven players, one nation’ slogan that’s accompanying the launch.
What we’re less keen on however, is the screen-printed sponsor logo on the front of both jerseys. We honestly don’t know why all teams don’t sublimate these onto the front of the jersey – it not only looks much better (the different shades of white between the logo and shirt is particularly noticeable on the home shirt here), but is also better for fans, as there’s no danger of it peeling off with wear, tear and a whole lot of washing.
But it’s a pretty minor gripe to be honest – as we’ve said many times before, we judge Sevens shirts by a different standard to 15s jerseys. They’re supposed to be a bit weird, a bit different, and a bit polarising. These two designs manage to do that, without being so garish or so unsettling that it makes us want to do a sick, and in Sevens, that’s all we really ask for.
SHIT/GOOD RATING: Good