The Ricoh Black Rams are a Japan Top League team who should at least be vaguely familiar to rugby fans outside of the country. The Tokyo-based team have picked up several high-profile signings over the last decade or so, including Wallabies legend Stephen Larkham, All Blacks legend Ma’a Nonu and England ‘social media junkie‘ in chief James Haskell.
The Rams don’t have that level of star power any more, however – their most high-profile signing is former All Black centre Tamati Ellison. That said, they do have a rather nice, if very, very restrained pair of Adidas shirts this season.
With them being called the Black Rams, the clue is very much in the name when it comes to shirt design. Yes, we’re talking black here. None more black. Not a dark shade of blue. Black.
It’s not all black though – there’s the white of the stripes and the sponsor, of course, but there’s also a slightly leftfield but very welcome splash of brightness in the shape of some shocking pink piping around the back of the collar. It’s a subtle touch, but we really like it.
The alternate shirt keeps things similarly moody, going down the love/hate grey alternate shirt route that seems to polarise rugby fans pretty comprehensively.
We actually really like a grey alternate shirt. It’s like the rugby shirt equivalent of an iPhone – a bit stark and industrial, and hardly traditional, but there’s a clean, utilitarian vibe that we can’t help enjoy.
That said, we’re not as keen on the pink flash on the collar here – it doesn’t pop in the way it does on the NMB home shirt, perhaps another colour would have worked better while still giving that splash of colour?
The Black Rams didn’t have the best season this year, but it’s hard to argue with the restrained, classy simplicity of their shirts.
SHIT/GOOD RATING: GOOD