There’s been plenty of upheaval at Clermont Auvergne this off-season – with long-term coach Vern Cotter leaving to take the reins for Scotland and a raft of high-profile player arrivals and departures, as is often the case with one of the true aristocrats of French rugby. With all that change then, it’s perhaps not a bad thing that there’s been minimal change on the shirt front. Let’s dive in and take a look.
If you remember last season’s Clermont home shirt and are looking at this design wondering ‘well what the bloody hell has changed here then? Don’t worry, it’s not just you. The changes here are head-scratchingly minimal, to the point where we’re genuinely wondering why they bothered.
As with pretty much every Under Armour shirt, the basic shirt template has been kept identical, with its distinctive multi-panel design, but there are a few very subtle differences from the 2014 version here. Very fucking small. The slightly odd coloured shoulder patches have been abandoned here, and there’s a fair bit more blue on the jersey in general, as the panel that runs up from armpit to the collar is now blue instead of yellow.
The same panel is also blue round the back, so there’s a fair bit more blue on show overall than last season’s design.
And er, that’s it.
While we can’t help but admit that these VERY subtle design tweaks does improve the look of this shirt, we can’t help but wonder why they bothered? If you’re going to bring out a new shirt, why make it so similar to last year’s that nobody’ll notice the difference? Weird.
The alternate shirt also looks exactly the same as last season, but this one at least has the excuse that it is the same as last year’s design. And that’s no bad thing at all.
We really like grey as a shirt colour, which is not an opinion held by all, we acknowledge, but we think the spartan, slightly utilitarian look is both cool and modern.
We’re not 100 per cent in love with the slightly tacky blue-to-yellow fade on the side panels, but it’s a minor complaint. This is a very plain, but perfectly nice shirt, and we have no objections to Clermont keeping it for a second season.
We very nearly didn’t both reviewing this Clermont shirt – such are the minor tweaks from the 2014 design, it almost seemed churlish. They’re such subtle tweaks, and while they undoubtedly make a nice shirt a little nicer still, we’re not sure why they just didn’t design something completely different.
We’ve complained about Under Armour’s rather inflexible approach to jersey designs before, and this is perhaps the most striking example. It’s still a very nice shirt, however – we’re just hoping for something a bit more distinct next season.
SHIT/GOOD RATING: GOOD