Last season was a pretty stellar one for Northampton. Saints racked up an impressive Premiership and Challenge Cup double, and with a core squad of world class talent that’s the envy of any team in Europe, fans at Franklins Gardens have their sights set on going one better this year, by winning the inaugural Rugby Champions Cup. It’s fitting then, for a club with such lofty ambitions to have a European shirt, so let’s take a look at the 2014/15 vintage.
Saints are no strangers to Euro shirts – they’ve had them for the past couple of seasons, including a fairly decent quartered effort that they wore last year. This is a bit of departure however, as unlike previous designs there’s not a lot of green and yellow on show, with black and grey being the preferred choices here.
On the surface there’s a lot of similarities between this shirt and the Ospreys European shirt we were big fans of earlier in the season (the difference is we’ll still be seeing this one in the knock-out stages!). It’s similar in its use of grey hoops on a black shirt, and in the way that it only really takes up the bottom half of the jersey.
If we’re being brutally honest, we’re not as keen on this as the Ospreys shirt – they way that BLK design hangs together just works a little better than here. We’re not keen on the way the incompletely hoops carry on up the shirt past the sponsor logo – it looks a touch messy and cluttered.
We do like the little nod to the classic Saints colours however – the gold trim on the collar, sleeves and bottom of the jersey, and the very subtle green outlines to the grey hoops. It’s a very subtle hint of the primary Northampton colour palette, but it’s a nice touch, we feel.
The trend this season with any kind of pattern or sublimation has been to only have it on the front of the shirt, leaving the back plain and clutter free. Here however, Burrda has chosen to not only continue the hoop pattern on the back, but extend it all the way up the shirt.
It’s an unusual choice in the current design trends, but we really like it – in fact we kinda wish that they hadn’t abruptly stopped it in the way they had on the front and kept the hoops going all over.
Because of their similarity, it’s hard not to compare this with the Ospreys European shirt, and when it comes down to it we prefer the Welsh region’s shirt a little more. This is still a very cool design however – sleek, modern and tasteful, and much more likely to be seen on the winning side…
SHIT/GOOD RATING: GOOD