Argentina Pumas Nike 50th Anniversary Shirt

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Nike practically invented the modern rugby shirt back in 2003, and while the US sports giant doesn’t produce quite as many shirts as it used to do, the ones they do are some of the most striking and lovely modern designs around. But rugby fans don’t always like modern and bold… sometimes we like a bit of retro, but Nike wouldn’t really be interested in that any more, would they? 

Well, yes, clearly they would! This year, Argentina celebrates 50 years as a touring team, when in 1965, the national side toured South Africa, beating the Junior Springboks and earning a nickname from a local journalist – Pumas.

To mark this historic watershed moment for Argentinian rugby, Los Pumas will wear this stunning commemorative jersey for their Rugby Championship match this weekend against the Springboks in South Africa, and again for their home match against the the men in green on 15 August.

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Let’s not mince our words here – this might be one of the most stunningly beautiful shirts we’ve seen in a good long time, and it’s further proof that despite their reduced output, Nike are one of the finest rugby shirt designers in the world today.

The new shirt is modelled on the shirt worn on that famous 1965 tour, and what’s remarkable here is quite how far Nike has gone to replicate the retro look here. It’s reminiscent of the much-loved Nike RFU Centenary shirt England wore back in 2010 in the lengths the US brand has gone to make this feel old…

For starters, we’ve got proper old-school long sleeves, retro-style hoops, and a truly glorious old-school collar with a proper, no-messing around button-up placket.

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As if that wasn’t enough, there’s a special blue and white ‘1965’ UAR badge, that just looks old… like, it looks a bit shit, old. In this age of 3D injection-moulded badges and computer-controlled stitching, this badge looks rough, hand-sewn… it’s almost certainly not, but we love the attention to detail.

The reason this shirt looks so wonderfully authentic is as much about what isn’t here as is, too. For starters, there’s no main sponsor on the front of the shirt – taking it off instantly makes a shirt feel old-school – but Nike has gone one step further and opted to remove the swoosh, too, leaving the front of the jersey completely unblemished, just as it would have been.

Pumas50thFront

We say unblemished, but, well, this shirt is being used in a test match against one of the finest teams in World Rugby, so there are a few concessions to modernity, but crucially they don’t ruin the vibe.

It’s skin-tight for starters, of course, and made of super duper modern fabrics. There’s also the unavoidable grippy material, for ball security, but we’re glad they’ve moved it to the ribcage from the chest, as it was on the World Cup shirts, in order to minimise its intrusion.

Cards on the table here – bold, modern rugby shirts are great, and we understand the financial reality that makes sponsorship a necessity. However, a shirt like this reminds you of what a beautiful, simple, wonderful thing a classic, clean, retro design can be.

Argentina might only be wearing this for two tests, but let’s cherish it while we can – a fitting tribute for the Pumas 50th anniversary, and a timely reminder for rugby shirt fans of the beauty of the traditional rugby shirt.

SHIT/GOOD RATING: SO DAMN GOOD

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12 comments

  1. The bestRugby jersey in years end of story in my view. I am going to have wild guess that this jersey will not be on sale in Europe any whare am I right ? Still.not happy as regards the same scenario with the Argentina away R.W.C 2015 jersey.

      • i am curious to know where I can purchase this or the retro England on you mentioned. BTW I live in America

      • The England retro shirt was limited edition back when England wore Nike, Henry – you’ll have a job finding one, eBay is probably your only bet, and we’d say it’s v unlikely. You may be able to to find the Arg shirt, but the only place we’ve found it for sale is netshoes.com.ar, which we don’t think ships outside of the country. Shame!

      • I found a retailer in Argentina that is going to send me one to the US would anyone like his information top try and get in touch with him?

      • Henry the seller doesn’t appear to have any of the 50th anniversary jerseys in stock. Anyone else have any leads as to where I could buy one and have it shipped internationally? I’m based in Australia.

      • Sorry Jim let me clarify, I contacted the seller with the netshoes.ar link to the jersey and asked if they could purchase one on my behalf. He obliged and sent me a paypal request. I then filled out the paypal info with the size I wanted and am waiting for my jersey. I can imagine (based off the time for his other items to ship) this process will take a while. It appears that the netshoes website only has the supporters rugby sweater in xl now tho. :/

  2. Nike are stuck in the dark ages as far as
    getting Argentina Rugby Union Jerseys on sale in Europe is concerned move with the times Nike If I want a NFL team jersey I can get one online in Europe but not an Argentina Rugby Union jersey move with the times Nike for God sake what is this 1961 grrrrr.

  3. First of all, it is with great joy that I discover a website which takes “rugby shirts too seriously”, for there are great design atrocities committed out there while many superb jerseys go uncelebrated.

    This Argentinian jersey is truly remarkable and should be what Argentina plays in every game. I hope other teams (or their sponsors – as it seems they might be the real culprits?) follow suit and design proper jerseys where they are not doing so.

    Asics went way wrong in what they did too the Springbok and Wallaby jerseys for the 2015 WC. Does the teams have a say in this? They ought to refuse to play in such ugly jerseys.

    Also, my local team, Western Province (under Adidas), went the same way as Argentina and sacrificed their beautiful hooped jersey for blue-sleeved practice jerseys.

    I look forward to further exploring your site.

  4. This is a great looking jersey. Nike really does a great job with these throwback jerseys. England’s kit a few years back comes to mind. It is the subtle details that always get me. The crest looking hand sown. The faux-collar is a little silly, but necessary for the esthetic look. I would love to see more companies bring back the traditional collared rugby tops.

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