Spain are often the forgotten men of European international rugby. Los Leones played their first test match in 1929, and even qualified for the Rugby World Cup back in 1999, but there’s little doubt that they’ve fallen behind the likes of Georgia and Romania in the pecking order of second tier European nations. That said, 2015 has been a success on the field – Spain finished third in this year’s European Nations Cup, ahead of World Cup nearly men, and they’ve also got a new shirt supplier in the shape of Irish manufacturer O’Neills.
And what shirts they are… while Los Leones have been content with pretty plain and straightforward red and blue change shirts, this is something else altogether.
We’re not entirely sure what the strange polygonal design is supposed to represent – it’s very similar to the Argentina alternate shirt from Nike, but with a much denser distribution of triangles, giving it an almost golf ball-like effect. It’s nicely restrained by the plain black side panels, although we do feel like the yellow badge, sponsor and ‘Los Leones’ tag on the bottom of the shirt get a little lost against such a busy design – maybe black would have been a better choice?
If the home is vaguely reminiscent of the Argentina shirt, then the alternate is a full-on flashback. That said, we think the crazy-paving pattern works a lot better with the varied shades of blue, and the yellow writing is far more legible here.
We’re not so keen on red as a contrast colour though – combined with the yellow and the various different shades of blue, it just tips the scales into ‘too much’ territory. We know that red is the colour for Spain, but perhaps black would have been preferable?
Spanish rugby has a storied tradition, but in a football worshipping country, they’ll always be a niche concern. That said, with a pair of shirts this striking, Los Leones are going to be a lot harder to ignore than they were before.
SHIT/GOOD RATING: GOOD