Argentina have brought plenty to the mix since they joined the top table of Southern Hemisphere international rugby three seasons ago, and while they might still be waiting for their first win in The Rugby Championship, Los Pumas have never failed to disappoint with some eye-catching alternate jerseys since they joined the Tri-Nations party.
After Nike opted not to renew their decades-long association with Toulouse this year (allowing BLK to swoop in), there was a lot of talk and conjecture that the American sports behemoth was done with rugby union, and a decade on from pretty much inventing the modern tight-fitting rugby shirt for England in 2003, we wondered if the days of seeing the Swoosh on rugby jerseys might become a thing of the past…
Well, hold on for a minute there – Nike may or may not be done with rugby, and it seems as though they’ve gradually wound down their presence in the sport since opting not to renew the England and France deals a few years back, however, they still have contracts with both Saracens and Argentina, the latter of which runs until 2018, so we’re certainly not done with Nike just yet.
And looking at this shirt, isn’t that a massive relief for all concerned? We loved the subtle bonkerness of last season’s puma-print affair, but this year things have gone off in an altogether more brash direction.
Looking like a cross between a 1970s prog album cover and Superman’s Fortress Of Solitude, we can’t help but love the boldness of the crazy geometric patterns. Yes, when you think about it, the weird polygon effect does give a bit of a mid-1990s computer game vibe to proceedings, but who hasn’t secretly dreamed of being rendered as a Goldeneye character, eh?
Going down the ‘batshit crazy’ route is a dangerous one for any kit designer, and it tends to go one of two ways. But when you’ve got a company with the experience and skill of Nike, they’re more likely to get things right that not, and here they’ve demonstrated that they still know how to make a great, bold, modern rugby shirt.
We don’t know how long Nike will keep making rugby shirts for, but there’s no denying that the spark of creativity and ingenuity that brought the rugby shirt into the 21st century over a decade ago is still present and correct, and we’ll be happy to keep seeing them kitting teams out for many years to come.
SHIT/GOOD RATING: GOOD