After a poor year by their high standards, the Sharks bounced back in 2014 with a return to the playoffs, winning the South African conference before eventually falling to the Crusaders in the semi-finals. It certainly marked a successful first year for the Durban franchise’s first year with new supplier BLK, and they’ll be hoping for a repeat performance this year – speaking of repeat performances…
If you’re looking at the 2015 Sharks home shirt and thinking all those blows to the head have finally caught up with us, because this is exactly the same shirt as last year, you’re not entirely right… and you’re not entirely wrong either.
There’s no doubt at all that this shirt is incredibly similar to last year’s effort – in fact it’s nigh on identical. The most noteworthy aspect of the shirt, the carbon fibre-esque pattern that diagonally crosses the design, is the same, and it’s interesting that BLK have replicated the pattern on this year’s Western Force jerseys.
But there are some subtle differences that are worth noting. For starters, the BLK logo has been shifted into the middle of the chest to accommodate an extra sponsor, and it gives a nice symmetry to things. The collar has also been altered this year – reflecting BLK’s change to a narrower gap between the two points of the collar.
The most noticeable cosmetic change on the front of the shirt is the removal of the slash-shaped panels that went up from the armpit to the collar on the old BLK template. Instead we have a thin bit of white piping across the shoulder, leaving the front of the shirt looking less cluttered.
There is a larger amount of plain black this year however – and that’s across the top and back of the shoulders. It fits in with the current BLK trend to remove any pattern on the top of the jersey, and we like the way it breaks up the front and back of the design somewhat.
They’re very, VERY subtle tweaks to the formula, but we definitely think that on the whole it’s improved things over the 2014 vintage.
The alternate shirt is again extremely close to what the Sharks wore last season. The lack of the black panels on the top of the chest is probably more noticeable than it is on the home shirt, and makes it look a little more different as a result, but again we’re talking incredibly minor changes here.
Again this year the right sleeve of the shirt has heavy black stripes on the diagonal pattern, differentiating it from the rest of the shirt, and this year the pattern continues across the back of the shoulder until the large white panel in the centre.
While both of these designs are perfectly nice and definite improvements on last season, we’re left scratching our heads at why BLK and the Sharks bothered? If they wanted to do a new design this season, why not do a completely new design? By tweaking their existing shirt so subtly, it leaves them in a bit of no-man’s land where it’s neither entirely new or entirely old, and is a bit confusing for fans as well. Still, taken on their own merits, we can’t complain about either of these designs.
SHIT/GOOD RATING: GOOD