Lyon are one of the grand old names of French rugby – they were actually one of the first rugby clubs to form in France outside of Paris, and were big noises during the interwar period of French domestic rugby. Then it all went a bit tits up, and for some time LOU were slumming it in the lower tiers of French pro rugby for some time. For the last 10 years or so, however, Lyon have had the look of sleeping giants about them – with a playing budget that dwarfs many top-level teams elsewhere, Lyon have yo-yo’d between the Top 14 and ProD2 over the last few seasons, but now they’re back, and in black…
It’s quite easy to make a black kit work – especially with red as the complimentary colour. Just keep it simple, and things can’t go wrong. Plus, everyone knows that black is very slimming, which it EXTRA helpful when you’ve got the, ahem, ‘not traditionally athletic’ Ricky Januarie on your books. In that much at least, you can’t say that Macron haven’t hit the target here.
Yup, with a subtle bit of red on the collar and under the sleeves, and the welcome addition of sponsor logos whose colour doesn’t clash with the kit, this is a pretty inoffensive affair, if hardly inspiring. Bonus points, as ever, for Macron’s continued use of everyone’s favourite rugby shirt feature – the proper collar – too.
If we have one bugbear, it’s the position of the LOU badge, which seems about three inches too far south for our liking – badges should be on the chest, or thereabouts, not flirting with your bellybutton – doubly so if you happen to have a beer gut. Do we have to mention Ricky Januarie again?
Round the back, things are fine right up until we get to the bottom half of the jersey. For some reason, the powers that be at Lyon/Macron (let’s call the Lycron, shall we?) have decided that what this admittedly very plain shirt needed was a sublimated club logo roughly in the arse area of the shirt. Now, that would be fine, good people of Lycron, if the club badge wasn’t an angry wolf – giving the shirt what we can only describe as a very shit-looking tramp stamp.
And that’s before we even get into the fact that a fair number of modern rugby players still tuck their shirts in, meaning that what you’re actually more likely to get is the appearance of an angry wolf poking his head out of the back of Wian du Preez’s shorts – and why should Lionel Nallet have to look at that for 20-odd games a season, eh?
The alternate shirt is a straightforward white-for-black palette swap and it’s perfectly inoffensive again. One difference from the home shirt however, is the inclusion of a two-coloured collar placket. It’s subtle, but we like it, and we’re sure you’ll all agree that your lives have been enhanced in an utterly undeniable fashion by us telling you that particular nugget of anal shirt analysis.
Speaking of anal… round the back, things are actually a little worse this time around, with the Wolf Guardian Of Backside Town being significantly less subtle than it is on the home shirt. He’s an angry fella, and if you had to sit on a rugby player’s backside for 80-odd minutes, you’d probably be irate too…
So, two pretty nice, if a tad plain shirts, somewhat tarnished by a slightly unnecessary bit of tailgate sublimation – Macron are a bit hit and miss with their designs, and this is perhaps another example of them not being entirely on the money with it. Still, if lupine tramp stamps don’t offend you, there’s a lot to like here.