After several years being supplied by Australian rugby league specialists ISC, London Irish have switched suppliers this season, appropriately to Irish sportswear company O’Neills. O’Neills primarily specialise in providing kits for GAA teams, though they also have a fairly big presence in rugby, and until last season had kitted out Harlequins for several years. So what do we make of this very Celtic marriage of team and supplier? Well…
If you’ve read any of our reviews in the past, you’ll know that we have a real soft spot for classic, clean, simple rugby shirt. If it’s done well, it can look absolutely fabulous, and most fans prefer shirts that are as plain and classic as possible.
But there’s a line.
If you’re going to go super-Spartan on a shirt design, you HAVE to do something to make it look like someone’s bought a tshirt off a market stall and stuck some sponsors on it. It doesn’t have to be garish, but you need something, be it sublimation, piping, panelling, a splash of a contrasting colour… SOMETHING. ANYTHING.
Quite literally the only hint at interest on this London Irish home shirt is the collar, which we have to say, is actually quite nice, but it would have to be a fucking Jacobean Ruff to elevate this shirt above the frightfully bland.
We like the colour, we have to say – it’s the right shade of green, and we always like it when teams go back to their traditional colours – but other than that, Jesus, this has got Friday afternoon job written all over it.
Still, with a home shirt this plain, they must have done something pretty frickin’ out there for the away and third shirts, right?
This is the away shirt. It is black.
This is the third shirt. It is white.
This is, there’s nothing wrong with any of these shirts, they’re plain, classic, tasteful… we’re sure that fans will really like them and they’ll probably sell very well.
But… this is a site where we review rugby shirts, and honestly, we’re not sure there’s anything here to actually review. They’re so boring, Irish should include a free pack of Pro Plus with every one sold, just to make sure nobody falls asleep at the wheel on the drive back from the club shop.
If you remember the Quins designs of recent years, or take a look around the company’s rugby section on their site, you can see that O’Neills have plenty of creativity in their design team (with some very mixed results, admittedly), so this ultra-sparse look must have come from Irish.
We understand a team wanting to play it safe with its kits, but honestly, this is safer than a triple-thick condom in a nerdy teenage boy’s wallet. Hopefully next season Irish will let O’Neill’s off the leash a little.
SHIT/GOOD RATING: SHIT