For the last two seasons, Bath Rugby have gone it alone – rather than have their kit supplied by a third party, the club sourced and designed their own gear. However, after a season where they made it to the Premiership final and showcased some of the brightest young talent in England, the Westcountry club has signed on with one of the biggest names in the sport, Canterbury, to coincide with Bath Rugby’s 150th Anniversary.
The last few seasons of self-produced Bath kits have been a little bland, but it has seen the return of the traditional black, blue and white hoops after a few years of Puma mucking about with things in a deeply regrettable manner and the . Canterbury is a brand that knows a thing or two about producing shirts that fuse the classic and the modern, so it’s no surprise that the hoops have been retained in the traditional fashion here.
If you’ve read our reviews of the new Canterbury England and Ireland World Cup shirts, you’ll notice a lot of design similarities between the two. One of the biggest differences between last year’s shirt surrounds the use of one of those new features – namely the 360° Loop neckline. It’s all-black here, along with the shirt sleeves, whereas it’s all been hooped all over the last few seasons – it’s a look we dig, and makes the shirt feel a little special for the 150th anniversary.
Speaking of which, another new addition that marks 150 years of Bath Rugby is the use of gold piping around the neckline, gold Canterbury badge and a gold special anniversary crest in the centre of the chest. Again, it’s a nice little touch to mark a very special occasion, without it seeming a bit over the top and garish.
In addition to the crest, the club badge has also had a bit of an anniversary makeover, in more ways than one. On a very basic level, the white lettering has been replaced with gold, but that’s not the main thing, oh no…
Just like the England and Ireland shirts, the new Bath Canterbury shirts have a special 3D injection-moulded badge, and trust us when we tell you that it’s AWESOME. Trust us, you don’t appreciate just how frickin’ cool the 3D badge looks until you see one of them up close – if Canterbury is going to bring this to all of their shirts from now on, then you’ll be VERY happy if your team is supplied by them.
Speaking of that crest, we do hope that this doesn’t signal the end of Bath’s practice of stitching the flag of capped internationals onto the front of the jersey – we always thought that was a really nice touch, and we hope Canterbury finds a place for it somewhere.
Again this year, Bath’s main sponsor is Dyson, and again they’ve opted for the original approach of having different positions advertise different products made by the fellow Westcountry firm.
There’s been a change-up with some of the vaguely appropriate products being shilled here, however. While the half-backs, back rowers and locks are still ‘Hot&Cool’, ‘On A Ball’ and ‘Animal’ respectively and highly appropriately, the front rows and centres/outside backs are now wearing ‘Big Ball’ and ‘Airblade’ respectively.
A posh, expensive fan is entirely appropriate for twinkle-toed wingers, of course, and while it’s not quite as funny as the sarcastic ‘Digital Slim’ of last year, ‘Big Ball’ is a pretty apt description of the props and hookers, even in today’s pro-athlete world.
Lots of Bath fans were very fond of the classic nature of the in-house gear the club has worn in the last few years, but hopefully they look at this new Canterbury shirt and see the benefits a big supplier can bring – merging the club’s iconic colours with clever, thoughtful modern design, cool innovative little touches that you don’t see anywhere else. Nice.
SHIT/GOOD RATING: GOOD