Over the last few years, Munster have seen their position at the top of the tree in Irish provincial rugby gradually slip away as first Leinster, and more recently Ulster have made more waves at both Pro12 and European level. Only a fool will ever count Munster out, however, and they’ll doubtless be a formidable outfit again this year, but will they be wearing formidable outfits while they’re doing it? Well…
There’s no new home shirt for Munster this season – like Leinster, they’ll be wearing the same shirt we were slightly underwhelmed with last season. With a fairly meh home shirt then, the onus is on this alternate kit to give us something to shout about for Munster in 2015. And, well… you can’t say this shirt isn’t shouting.
Let’s get something out of the way here – a large part of whether you dig this kit or not is going to depend on whether you’re a fan of teams using day-glo colours in their kit designs. If you aren’t well… you probably already know what you think. It’s sort of like going to a Viking metal festival. If you’re fundamentally opposed to the notions of Vikings, metal and indeed Viking metal, no matter how good the catering trucks are, chances are you’re still going to have a shit weekend.
And so it is here – if you don’t like the particular shade of luminous lime green that Adidas have chosen here, it’s gonna be a deal-breaker. And let’s face it, this is a particularly garish shade, if ever we saw one. It’s even more eye-burning than this year’s Cardiff Blues European shirt, and is bordering on the sort of garment that would be entirely appropriate to wear should you be working on a motorway in the middle of the night…
We happen to really like it, though – we’ve often remarked that lime green is a woefully under-used colour in shirt design, and when paired with the right colour, it car even look quite tasteful. Thankfully, the choice of a very dark shade of blue for the collar, badges, sponsor and the obligatory Adidas shoulder scarf thing are a really nice contrasting colour.
As is often the case with these particularly garish designs, we’re not sure we’d wear it ourselves, and certainly sticking a 40-year-old bloke with a beer gut in this shirt and things could go a little bit Teletubbies in very short order… Thankfully, your modern rugby player looks more like a superhero than a rotund kids’ TV character, so they can get away with a helluva lot more – on the field, we think this will look ace.
The one thing we’re not keen on here is the sublimated stag motif on the front of the shirt. We understand the place of the stag in the folklore of the province of Munster, and why it was added to the badge of Munster Rugby a while back, but there’s something about this particular design we just don’t like – it looks like something an arsehole would get tattooed onto his back during a stag weekend in Budapest. No thanks.
On the whole then, we think this is a pretty tidy kit. It’s not the first time Munster have used day-glo colours for their alternate shirt, but we think this is definitely the most successful. It’s probably best only worn by supporters if you’ve been shying away from the half-time pies for a few months, but that aside, we think this is a bold but impressive kit for the Munstermen.
SHIT/GOOD RATING: GOOD