Pub quiz question for you. Can you name all 12 teams to have appeared in every single Rugby World Cup to date? Sounds easy, but when you figure that the likes of Fiji, Samoa and the USA are absent from that list, it’s rather surprising to see Romania’s name on that rather prestigious litte list. Indeed, the Oaks may be a long way removed from their 1980s Wales and Scotland-beating pomp, but they’re still the most successful team in Europe’s second tier, and while Georgia may have overtaken them in recent years, they’re still not a side to be taken lightly.
It’s very fitting then, that BLK’s new home shirt for Romania’s 2015 World Cup campaign has clearly had a lot of thought put into it, and is a thoroughly unique and memorable design. Sticking with Romania’s traditional yellow (though it looks to have a touch of gold about it in these shots, which as ever could be down to the lighting), the front of the jersey is decorated with three large circles, filled in with various striking geometric patterns.
BLK tells us that these patterns are designed to recall the look and feel of traditional handmade carpets that Romanians have used to give their homes a personal, unique touch for generations. Now, we have no idea whether these patterns are entirely accurate – our knowledge of traditional Romanian carpet design is, to say the least, a little sketchy.
Still, we’ll take BLK’s word for it, as the results crate a jersey that hits a sweet spot between unique, eye-catching and bold, and clean and classy.
It’s not just the big design aspects that set this apart as a classy, carefully thought through jersey, it’s the little things. In addition to the now-standard flag on the sleeve that all BLK RWC shirts have sported, we love the subtle use of red and blue on the sleeve cuffs – combining with the yellow of the body to give the three colours of the Romanian standard. It’s a clever little touch, and a classy way to use these little uneven sleeve cuffs.
Around the back we have another classy little touch, with the geometric patterns repeated with extra ornamentation to create a long band up the lower spine – it feels much more like something you’d actually see on a ornamental rug than what’s on the main body, and lets you into the head of the designer somewhat, which is always nice to see.
In the past, smaller teams at the Rugby World Cup have had to make do with basic teamwear templates with very little uniqueness or thought applied in the process, badge and colour aside. That’s why it’s so great to see BLK put so much effort into the Romanian shirts this year – it not only increases the diversity of shirts we’ll see at the tournament and stop games from looking samey, it also boosts and enhances the profile of Romanian rugby in general by giving them a bold, interesting, unique design that people will remember. Nice.
SHIT/GOOD RATING: Mighty oak!