The 2014/15 season didn’t go quite to plan for Ulster – eliminated at the group stages of the new Champions Cup, and making the Pro12 playoffs only to lose to eventual champs Glasgow isn’t much of a return for the considerable investment the club has made in foreign and home-grown talent in recent years. But new seasons bring new optimism, and what’s more optimistic than some new kits? Nothing!
Kukri have been supplying Ulster’s stash for some time now, and over that time we’ve had a bit of a mixed relationship with their home shirt designs – they’ve generally taken a very minimalist approach that, while, nice and cool, hasn’t really set our hearts racing.
This, on the other hand… well, it’s definitely got a lot more going for it, and there’s much more to get excited about here than there had been with some recent designs.
The basic classic recipe of white, black and red is present and correct of course, but they’ve confined it to a dotted wave pattern on the sides of the jersey – it’s a significant reduction in the amount of secondary colours, giving the shirt a much less cluttered look.
The wave pattern also feels much more contemporary than the solid colour block designs of the last few years, and we also love the return of the ‘bridge’-style collar from last season’s alternate shirt – we vastly prefer it to the granddad-style Ulster have generally worn.
All in all, this feels like a truly contemporary take on the Ulster home jersey – something that other recent efforts haven’t really done. The shirt has a classic, clean feel, yet that pattern on the sides gives it a nice modern twist – cool.
Last season’s Ulster alternate shirt was a thing of beauty. Purple? With subtle hoops? And a splash of red in there too? Oh Kukri, you really were spoiling us…
This year’s shirt is less striking off the bat, but it’s no less lovely. The shade of blue used is really great – it’s cyan, if you’re keeping score, which will play well with the CMYK fans among you, and while there are no hoops (boo!) it still works.
The wave pattern from the home shirt is repeated here, but with just white. In fact we like the way that all the badges and logos have been coordinated as much as possible to give the shirt a very white-on-blue look.
We like when manufacturers do this – sometimes when you have too many multi-coloured sponsors on a shirt, it can mess with the look a bit (the old BT logo on Ulster’s shirts was one such example) – no such problems here, and it makes the red hand of the Ulster badge stand out, too.
Ulster have signed up with Kukri through to 2019, which is a long old time to be with one supplier, and it speaks volumes of how much faith the club has in their work.
In the past, we might have filed them under the ‘solid but unspectacular’ label, but the clean, modern, vibe of these new designs definitely points to good things for the future. Nice.
SHIT/GOOD RATING: Good