Rugby union in Samoa has been hitting the headlines for all the wrong reasons in the last year or so. Political turmoil has engulfed the side, causing massive problems both on and off the field. As if that wasn’t enough though, the problems off the field even spilled over into the shirts – is nothing sacred?
After many years of wearing striking and interesting designs from BLK/Kooga, Samoa unexpectedly turned out for last year’s November internationals wearing a rather bland, standard template kit from Canterbury – it certainly raised a few eyebrows, as there’d be no official announcement about the change in supplier.
A few months later, things started to become clearer – the SRU hadn’t been paying their bills for several years, and then decided to sign up with Canterbury while allegedly still under contract with BLK. It was unsurprising then, that the Samoan Rugby Union was then sued by the Aussie supplier to the tune of over a million Aussie dollars. Ouch.
And yet here we are today. We’re not sure what went on behind the scenes to resolve the differences between BLK and the SRU, but the result is that Samoa is back in the fold with BLK producing their 2015 Rugby World Cup jerseys.
And we’re very glad they do. Once again, BLK has drawn on traditional Samoan art to create a jersey that’s bold. dynamic and totally unlike anything else that we’ll see at this year’s World Cup. The body of the jersey has a large, vaguely chevron-y design that we think is much less polarising than some of the past designs, giving the shirt a much less busy feel. There’s plenty of interest here, but there’s a symmetry and dynamism to the sublimation that really works.
The sleeves and the back of the shirt have much more intricate artwork, but again, it really works. The back will be plain bar the number, and we think the design around that part of the shirt will look fantastic, with the triangular shapes bursting forth from behind the numbers.
The sleeve area has the most intricate artwork of all, and is more similar to what we’ve seen on some previous Samoa shirts from BLK. It’s also worth noting that, like all BLK jerseys at this World Cup, the country’s flag is situated at the bottom of the left sleeve. Either you like it or you hate it, but we think it’s a nice touch, and makes it instantly clear how the rest of the design reflects the colours of the Samoan standard.
It’s been a long and troubled road for this jersey to arrive – politics and money getting in the way of rugby is never fun, and that’s equally true of the shirts. But the journey was worth it – this is another great World Cup kit from BLK, and one that’s chock full of the unique identity of Manu Samoa.
SHIT/GOOD RATING: Good