The Waratahs claimed their first ever Super Rugby title last season, overcoming the Crusaders in a Grand Final at the third time of asking. The men from New South Wales also sported one of the nicest home shirts in Super Rugby last season, so we’re pleased to see them sticking with it for a second season. The alternate shirt is all changed, however, so read on to find out more…
There’s been a real clash of philosophies in Super Rugby kit design recently. On the one hand you have most of the Adidas-sponsored NZ teams, where bold, modern, busy designs have very much been to the forefront, and teams such as the Reds, Highlanders and the Tahs have kept things extremely clean, to an almost ascetic degree.
The Tahs shirt was probably our favourite example of this, and remains so – keeping things incredible plain and simple, with just the subtle sublimation on the top half of the front of the jersey, that close observers will notice actually represents the Waratah’s club crest.
Canterbury has generally opted to stick with their home shirts for two seasons for their pro teams (the peculiar exception being Leicester), and in every case, we’ve been pleased to see them stick with it. Canterbury knows a thing or two about simple, clean design, and when they get it right, it’s hard to deny the all-time level loveliness that this design philosophy produces.
Things aren’t all the same for the Waratahs this year, however. Whereas the NH Canterbury-supplied teams have kept their alternate shirts for a second season as well, the Waratahs have changed things up.
Now, if you read our review of last year’s Tahs shirts, you’ll know that we got, very, very cross indeed about the alternate shirt. From the front, it was a thing of undiluted beauty. From the back it was well… we don’t really want to talk about it to be honest, it’s too upsetting.
The 2015 vintage is well… it’s just not quite as nice, is it? From the front at least, last year’s shirt was a wonderful mix of unusual design and gorgeous colour palette – it was a striking, unusual, and could have been an all time classic. Could have. This on the other hand, looks a bit like a training shirt.
If that sounds like we’re being a bit harsh, then don’t be mistaken – this is pretty nice, all in. We like the combination of light grey and dark blue, but there’s something about the fade from grey to dark blue that makes this shirt look more suited to the training paddock.
Round the back, there’s a merciful lack of horrible, jersey-ruining outlines of the state of New South Wales this time around, and for that we’re truly thankful. Choosing to meld such a dark colour with such a light one is going to make choosing a number colour a bit of an issue, however, as it will probably have to overlap both colours. Red would look pretty decent here we think, but at time of writing we haven’t seen them on the field, so time will tell.
So, one shirt that’s an absolute classic, but is identical to last season’s, and a new alternate shirt that doesn’t make us quite as angry as last year’s design, but leaves us a little lukewarm. On the plus side, the new alternate shirt doesn’t completely wreck itself with a horrible bit of shirt vandalism, but it doesn’t quite scale the heights of loveliness either. It’s still a nice-looking shirt, but we can’t help but wonder if these kind of colour-blocked half-and-half designs are better left for training/warm-up jerseys instead.
SHIT/GOOD RATING: GOOD