Georgian rugby is on the up. For the last decade or so, we’ve seen more and more Georgian players in Europe’s top leagues, particularly France, and they’ve qualified for the last three Rugby World Cups. They’ve also gained a bit more media exposure recently, playing a test match against Ireland at the Aviva Stadium this month, and putting in a credible performance for a team ranked 15th in the world. With increased exposure, Georgia need some new threads, of course, and that’s what we have here…
Under Armour are the perhaps surprising new company who are kitting out the Georgians this season – making Georgia just the third international rugby team, after Wales and Canada, to sign up with the Maryland-based sportswear giant.
We’ve been critical in the past about UA’s inflexibility in its shirt designs – check out the similarity between the current Wales and Canada shirts for example – but here it does seem that the firm has broken from its inflexible template a little.
We’ve got a half-collar going on for starters, which is something we haven’t seen on any Under Armour rugby shirts before – they’ve been exclusively ring-neck collars up until now. We quite like it, and wouldn’t object to seeing it on other UA designs – it would make them seem less football-shirty for starters.
UA shirts have also generally kept the sublimation and patterns to a minimum – only doing contrasting colour blocks on separate fabric panels. This time though, we have a sublimated pattern, which definitely sets this shirt apart from other Under Armour designs.
That doesn’t mean it’s any good, however. For starters, the dreaded Under Armour ‘collar tongue’ has made an unwelcome return. We always thought this looked ridiculous on the Wales and Clermont shirts of the era, and were delighted when UA got shot of it this year – its return is a step back, and clutters the front of the shirt.
Not that it needs much help in that regard – the large red box around the chest is just far too much – it makes the shirt look cheap, and like it was ordered from a shitty teamwear catalogue, not made by one of the world’s biggest sportswear brands.
It’s a bit of a boon for a team as small as Georgia to sign up with a brand as big as Under Armour, and it’s interesting to see that they’ve got a shirt that’s significantly different to the UA norm.
That said, this is a shirt that feels like it was made for a team very much in the second tier – it looks tremendously 90s, and is far too busy for its own good. Shame.
SHIT/GOOD RATING: SHIT