Newport Gwent Dragons 2014/15 GIlbert Home & Alternate Shirts

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Things were supposed to be different for the Dragons this year. After being the punchline of Welsh rugby for the better part of a decade, things looked promising on paper for the Newport-based region – they have a good coach in Lyn Jones, they’d recruited impressively over the summer, bringing in experienced internationals such as Lee Byrne and Andy Powell to compliment a very bright crop of youngsters including Hallam Amos and Jack Dixon… they’d even made plans to change the dreadfully 90s-looking club crest, which has blighted their shirts since its inception. And yet…

As seems to be the way with the Dragons, those positive vibes quickly evaporated once the season started. With just one league win so far this season, above only comedy car-crash Treviso in the Pro 12 table, it feels like depressing business as usual. They couldn’t even change the bloody club badge – within 24 hours of opening up an online poll, such was the backlash, primarily related to old grumblings about the ‘Newport Gwent’ part of the club name, that the poll was closed and plans to change the badge abandoned.

Still, at least Gilbert managed to turn out another classy, non-tacky shirt for the men of Gwent to run out in… oh…

In fairness, this 2014/15 design actually isn’t too bad… but it’s not too good, either. On paper, the large red chest panel, and the subtle yellow piping work really well, but in practice, it’s pretty poorly executed. For example – why design it so the badge and the supplier logo cut into the chest panel? It makes the whole thing feel more cluttered and amateur than it needs to be, when making it 10 per cent smaller would have totally solved the problem.

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Round the back, things aren’t much better – there’s some serious over-sponsoring going on here, to the point where we’re unsure how you’d actually go about fitting a number on there… we assume the playing shirts have things spread out a little more, but why should the replica be ugly’d up for the sake of a sponsor? We presume it’s supposed to make things look less cluttered by keeping the red bit clean, but it doesn’t really help.

And then there’s the away shirt…

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Now, from the front, this is a pretty decent shirt – it continues the theme from last season of using the blue of the Kingdom Of Gwent, though for some reason not the black. Still, asides from the same problems inherent with the basic design of the home jersey, this is a pretty nice away shirt, you’d think. It’s not quite as striking as last season’s half-and-half number, but still pretty nice.

Unfortunately, if there’s a front of a rugby shirt, so there must inevitably be a back… and just like last year‘s alternate kit, that’s where the wheels really come off…

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Oh good lord…

Yes, for some reason, the designers at Gilbert and the Dragons have once again decided that the colour palette nod to the Kingdom Of Gwent just wasn’t enough, and the back of the jersey has to be covering in fleur-de-lys as well…

It’s not just that the massive one on the arse of the jersey looks tacky and shit – of course it does – it’s the baffling inclusion of two tiny ones that look like they’ve been scrawled onto the jersey template in MS Paint in a totally random place at the top of the white panel. And honestly, we’re not even sure where to start with both jerseys having something scrawled on the back of the collar in the world’s most hideous handwriting font – it looks like something an arsehole would put on his pimped-out Ford Escort in 1994 to make it look ‘classy’. This is 2014. Come on, guys…

So… more of the same from Gilbert and the Dragons, then? Well, yes – another pair of shirts that look roughly 10 years out of date, with design elements that seemed tacky in the 90s. Dragons fans might have thrown their toys out about the new club badge, but what they really deserve is better shirts than this shower.

SHIT/GOOD RATING: SHIT

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