With the Pacific Rugby Premiership 2015 coming to a climax this weekend, it seems wholly appropriate that we round off our look at the competition with perhaps the most well known team, globally – Belmont Shore.
We’re not sure why Belmont Shore are a bit better known than the other PRP teams out there. Maybe it’s because they’ve been around since 1974, and have been one of the more consistently successful teams in the last few decades of US rugby, appearing in seven Super League finals, winning three. Maybe it’s because USA Eagles legend Mike Hercus used to play for them. Or maybe it’s because they’ve got a BITCHIN’ club badge with a bloody whale in a bloody ship’s wheel?!
Who are we kidding, of course it’s that.
Now, you might remember we were pretty unkind about another team in the Pacific Rugby Premiership club with a cetacean on their badge, but two things. First, sorry Santa Monica, but whales beat dolphins. Secondly, this one looks like it’s been drawn by someone who has actually seen the animal in question. End of argument!
Moving on to shirt itself – and we’re getting bored of saying this so thank fuck this is the final PRP shirt we’re doing – but it’s another resounding success for Canterbury. The large gold and white ‘Northwestern’ stripe on the centre has been a feature of the Belmont Shore shirt for some time, though it’s fallen out of favour in recent years.
We’re delighted to see Canterbury bring it back with a bang for this season, with the Raglan sleeve area all in contrasting white, baseball-style, and the lovely complimentary gold sleeve cuffs.
We’ve enjoyed the sponsor-free look on quite a few PRP jerseys this season, but if there’s one shirt that would have looked off without something in the middle of the chest, it’s this. The central stripe is the perfect place for a main sponsor, and its inclusion here definitely improves matters.
The only gripe we have is the fact that the Northwestern stripe doesn’t carry on all the way around the back. It’s such a distinctive jersey from the front, but it looks a little ordinary from the rear. It’s a minor quibble though, and we understand why canterbury and others opt to leave the back of the jersey clean to make it easier for numbers to stand out.
The Pacific Rugby Premiership may never be a big deal, and most of the players who wear the shirts we’ve looked at over the last few months will never sign a professional contract… and yet thanks to Canterbury, this semi-pro tournament in a country where rugby is very much a niche sport has showcased some of our favourite designs of the season.
The Belmont Shore shirt is yet another example of this – it’s clean, classy and classic, and at the same time quite unlike most other shirts you’ll see in the rugby world. Canterbury’s USA arm should be applauded, not just for creating so many great designs, but for making a noise about them, and using these shirts to boost the profile of the league.
If you’ve loved this or any of the other Pacific Rugby Premiership shirts we’ve reviewed this year, they’re available exclusively from our friends at WorldRugbyShop.com, and stay tuned to Rugby Shirt Watch in the coming weeks, as we have a giveaway coming that you’ll be very interested in…
SHIT/GOOD RATING: GOOD