Pampas XV are a team that might not be too familiar for the majority of rugby fans, but they’re an interesting outfit. Made up of elite development players from Argentina. Between 2010 and 2013, they played in South Africa’s Vodacom Cup, and for the last two years have competed in the Pacific Rugby Cup, which they won in 2014. What makes them even more interesting, however, is that with Argentina’s imminent entry to Super Rugby, Pampas are expected to provide the backbone of the new Argentinian franchise.
What’s more, Pampas are one of the increasingly few teams to be supplied by Nike (as a result of the UAR’s contract with the US sportswear giant), and so it’s another chance for us to take a look at the sort of things they can do when their designers turn their hands to rugby.
And once again, Nike makes us wish that they were still heavily invested in rugby shirts. Nike’s designs of late have had a very bold, modern aesthetic, and this one’s no exception.
The red and burgundy irregular checkerboard pattern is really rather cool, not to mention striking, and by keeping the rest of the shirt pretty clean it doesn’t feel like it’s going overboard.
The alternate shirt swaps red for a colour that Nike is calling ‘port wine’ – a colour that’s a very, very dark purple, that looks almost black – and keeps the burgundy checker motifs as the home shirt. If anything it works even better than the home design, giving it a sleek, moody look that really stands out from the crowd of more plain shirts out there.
Every time we review a Nike design, we’re a little saddened that the company has gradually pulled back from rugby, and now only supplies a handful of teams across both codes.
The company still has a pretty unusual knack for creating striking modern designs that never drift over that fine line into tacky and garish. It’s the sign of a brand that has truckloads of experience, and a shedload of talent and budget, too – the world of rugby shirts is a less interesting place without Nike in it.
Thankfully, though, Nike are signed up with the UAR for a few years yet, so there’s still more to come. Things are very opaque about the make up of the new Argentinian Super Rugby franchise right now, but we know that the current Pampas XV setup will be a key component of it.
Whatever happens, here’s hoping that Nike are the ones producing the shirts…
SHIT/GOOD RATING: GOOD