Ulster Rugby 2014/15 Kukri Home & Alternate Shirts

Ulster15HomeFront

Ulster Rugby have unveiled their latest kits for the new season, and while we’ve slated the Northern Irish province for their conservatism in previous shirts, for 50 per cent of their offering this year, we certainly can’t accuse them of not trying something that’s a little bit out of the ordinary…

Last season, we grumbled that it felt as though Kukri was barely trying when it came to the Ulster home shirt, and while this is at least an appreciably different design from the previous season (unlike the 2013 model), it’s still hardly a great leap forward. No reinvention of the wheel here then, but have the good people at Kukri at least bothered to stick a few Spokey Dokeys in there to liven things up? Well… we think so.

 

Ulster15HomeBack

 

There’s an appreciable reduction in the amount of red in use here – gone are the slightly dated shoulder panels, replaced with a red-black line that hugs the sleeve cuff before jutting out into the shoulder, and then down to frame the flanks of the shirt on both sides. It’s subtle, and makes the kit feel a little more grown up. We’re also glad to see the horrible old BT logo that used to blight the shoulders replaced with a smaller and more tasteful BT Sport logo instead. Definite improvement.

Ulster15AltFront

The home shirt might be a little bit on the conservative side then, but the alternate shirt? Well… just look at it. Purple, blue, red… it’s as bold as the home shirt is staid… and we love it.

Let’s get the colours and basic design out of the way first. Purple is a colour that has a fairly chequered past in shirt terms – mainly as a result of some extremely regrettable England alternate shirts over the years. But here, combined with the red and the blue, we think it’s striking and brilliant.

Shirts with modern takes on hoops are all the rage at the moment – take a look at last season’s Saracens kits, for example, or the current Leinster Euro and Highlanders alternate jerseys – and we think this is another very successful implementation of the concept. The single red stripe that breaks up the top of the jersey is striking, and a nice way to remind everyone that this is indeed an Ulster kit.

Ulster15AltBack

Another new feature on this jersey is the collar, which Kukri has christened its ‘Bridge’ collar design. Unlike the NZ-style collar that the home shirt and most other Kukri shirts have used up until now. It’s another thing that we think makes this shirt a far more appealing jersey than other Kukri designs we’ve seen – some people aren’t too keen on football-style collars on rugby shirts, and to be honest, anyone who says they don’t prefer a rugby shirt with a proper collar is mentally ill… however, if we have to have a non-proper collar, we prefer something like this, which with its subtle V neck and half-collar combo, at least looks a proper rugby shirt.

Two shirts at opposite ends of the scale then – one completely conservative, and one incredibly eye-catching. And yet in their own ways, they both work. Yes, we’re a little bored with the lack of evolution in the home shirt, but it’s a classy, traditional and recognisable design, so maybe it’s a case of ‘if it ain’t broke…’. The alternate shirt on the other hand, is properly striking, and it absolutely nails the balance between taste and boundary-pushing – it’s one of our favourite shirts of the year so far, and we never thought we’d be saying that about an Ulster shirt…

SHIT/GOOD RATING: GOOD

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3 comments

  1. home shirt is as boring as sin, gone are the good old days when canterbury would try something different, and here are the days of kukri making their money from selling dull kits with little effort to make and maximising profit, when as you can see with wasps, who have an even plainer template design of black with a tiny bit of yellow, they can do something better, i can see this top being used as a pyjama top for many people who struggle to sleep, its that boring.

    the away kit is so awful i can see it being given away free to underprivileged kids in a few years. this jersey has replaced the balls on the falls and the tower blocks that refuse to be demolished as the new eyesore in ulster. good lord, not one ounce of sense went into that design blue purple AND red, even elton john and his out-there fashion sense wouldnt don such a hideous color collaboration.

    • Whilst you are very much entitled to your opinion sports kit collector, I would hate to see your thoughts on international kits. Do you slate Puma and Canterbury just using green and white for the Ireland Home Kit? Or Canterbury for using only white and red with the odd bit of black on the England Home Kit? God forgive Macron and Canterbury using Navy for the Scotland kit. Poor Adidas with the Stade Francais kit and the designs they have used, they would make you surely turn in your grave.
      Your draconian views have no weight of opinion on this. People buy the kit, Ulster Rugby help Kukri design the kit, it’s not just Kukri. Please keep your ignorant views to yourself, if you have nothing positive to say, don’t say it at all. The designs are understated but also do give off class, they are recognisable. In a world of social media and where statements are as big a marketing tool as any, they will work well.
      When you think of an Ulster Rugby Kit, you think white, you think red, you think black. I applaud Kukri and Ulster for doing something fun with the alternative kit. Going bold and changing it up has given it a new dimension.

      • you start off saying that i am entitled to my opinion, thank you very much for affirming that basic right of mine, and then you descend into a rant calling me draconian and ignorant, i am neither of which, i am most certainly not ignorant as sport kit is not only my hobby in collecting, but also my profession, and then you basically tell me that my critical views are best not being aired, well thats not going to happen.

        firstly, international kits are a totally different kettle of fish, and my views on them arent as much as what colors they have used, as they are set in stone and never going to change (away kits may do that but for home kits thats not happening, id say mostly because trying to tell the fans and IRB that the all blacks are now going to wear a hue of magenta, would be very hard) i would critique and international kit based on the features of the kit, i.e when puma gave ireland a grip pattern on the front of the jersey that looked like a sweaty boob stain, that was awful, but the collar was very neat, so your presumed idea of what i think of those kits is totally off the mark.

        secondly stade francais paint a story and a picture with their jerseys, maintaining club emblems and reflecting parisian culture, street art, pop culture, historical figures, which makes the bold and eccentric designs work, but blue,purple and red do not work, they clash, thats a fact, there is no story no emblem or idea encapsulated by that design, just a mash up of colors that dont work together. they dont deserve applause for that. they do however deserve applause the comic strip kits, which like the SF kits, do tell (quite literally) a story, and that makes bold and eccentricity work. Munster and cardiff went for statement away kits, plain simple fluorescent green, but with navy and white, colors that work together, its no that hard to get it right, kukri just havent go tit right in my opinion.
        (also just in case you feel the need to bring up harlequins and the fact absolutely none of their colors work, thats a club thing, some are set up that way, and their new home kit atrocious in adidas’ attempt to make it work, in my opinion)

        thirdly, yes ulster is represented by white, red and black, but for god sake kukri can do so much more with their designs to incorporate those colors, look at wasps kit, i mentioned it above, they are class, and thye are a change from what you would expect, a different design, a new way of incorporating the same colors in a bold new way, ulster/kukri, have barely updated the kit they presented 3 years ago, does remoiving a red shoulder panel, make this kit worth buying? no i dont think it does not represent any value whatsoever to the fans who will feel the need to buy a new jersey because its “new”.
        Canterbury did what kukri should have done and went from the old standard design white with red shoulders and went black, black shoulders with red highlights, black side panels, and that to date is the best best looking home kit ulster have had, they did it differently, and kukri can do it differently so why dont they? i can only guess that the less effort put into designing a new kit means more money saved, or that the branch want to give off an air of continuity, but then why not do what leinster and munster have done, and not changed the home kit?

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