Fiji enter the 2015 Rugby World Cup full of hope and optimism. After years of being there or thereabouts, the Pacific Island nation won their first Sevens World Series title since 2006 this year, and the 15-a-side team is packed with dangerous, exciting talent such as Nemani Nadolo, Napolioni Nalaga, Nikola Matawalu and Leone Nakarawa. With a tough group that features both Australia and Wales, the Fijians face an uphill struggle to qualify, but let’s face it, they’ve upset the order of things before…
Like fellow Pacific Islanders Samoa, Fiji have been with BLK/Kooga for quite some time now, and in that time they’ve been a mixed bag – some nice and classy, some er, well, not. Thankfully though, the new World Cup offering is firmly in the former camp, with a very restrained, understated design.
The traditional Fijian ‘tapa’ motif has been a feature on Fijian jerseys for some time now, to a greater or lesser degree, but we really like the subtle way it’s been used to add some interest and excitement to the side panels here. As cool as the pattern is, it can overpower the design if it’s used too liberally, and we think they’ve got it just about right.
The biggest break from past Fiji jerseys and this one comes in the chest area. Discreetly sublimated into the chest area is a design that’s supposed to represent a civavonovono – a traditional Fijian breastplate worn by tribal leaders and others of high status during important ceremonies and times of war.
Given the rather robust way that the Fijians play rugby, we think a World Cup probably ticks the boxes of being both an important ceremony and a time of war, and as ever, it’s always nice to see a supplier go deeper into a nation’s traditions and culture when crafting a shirt.
BLK’s offerings for this World Cup have been characterised by detailed and modernist designs, but this is a bit cleaner and more restrained. There’s still some interesting design motifs going on here, but they don’t overpower the shirt, making it a fitting blend of classy and modern that’s more than worthy of the Flying Fijians.
SHIT/GOOD RATING: Good