For the last few years, Edinburgh fans have had to look enviously down the M8 as rivals Glasgow Warriors establish themselves as one of the better teams in Europe, while playing an exciting and attacking brand of rugby that has neutrals applauding. That said, they’ve at least had the edge in the shirts stakes – while Glasgow’s gear has been middle-of-the-road decent, the artists formerly known as The Gunners have been doing fun things with stripes and hoops that have produced some of the nicer shirts around. Well, clearly they couldn’t keep that ball rolling forever…
Yup, after a few years of clean, classy, vaguely retro offerings, someone has clearly decided that looking good was so very passe, and the best way for people to start paying attention to Edinburgh was to make their shirts look as dreadful as possible, so… chainmail? Chainmail!
Long-time readers of the site will know we have some history with chainmail on rugby shirts. Two seasons ago, the Crusaders inflicted the first example of this design catastrophe upon us, and continued to offend us with it for two whole seasons. Then, just as we thought we were free of the thrice-damned thing for good, Edinburgh have ensured that we’re going to have to spend at least another season watching players turn out in shitty clip art mail patterns week in, week out. Bah.
If anything, this is even worse than the Crusaders effort – at least that was all basically one colour, so from a distance you could pretend that they were just wearing plain red shirts – no such respite here, the grey mail is as tacky as it is obvious.
It’s so disappointing, because if they’d have just had the common sense to say ‘y’know what, chainmail effect on a rugby shirt looks terrible let’s not do that’, we might be hailing this as one of the nicest designs of the season.
Picture it with just plain black hoops instead of the ‘mail monstrosity, then take into account the otherwise really lovely design with it’s awesome proper collar… it would have been gorgeous! But no, instead we’ve got this absolute calamity. What a waste.
While the home shirt is disappointing because with just a little bit of restraint and common sense, it would have been one of the nicest shirts of the season, can you say the same for the away? Well, no, of course you can’t, because look at it. In a weird bit of symmetry, this shirt seems to be channeling another Super Rugby shirt that we hated with the kind of passion we usually reserve for war criminals and people who boo goal-kickers – the Bulls 2013/14 debacle from Puma.
The one thing we hate more than anything else at Rugby Shirt Watch is camouflage patterns on rugby shirts. For starters, it looks shit – not just a little shit either, properly, 100 per cent, set it on fire and throw the embers down a well shit. If you want to take the field looking like you’ve just made orphans of some poor lion cubs, then go right ahead, but we’d rather not get PETA riled up, if it’s all the same to you.
It’s not that just camo patterns look incredibly tacky and 90s and grim, it’s the associations that we find equally annoying. With both of these shirts, Edinburgh’s press bumph was emphasising the idea of rugby being like war – talking about players as knights, explaining how the rugby pitch is like at battlefield, etc, etc…
We’ve all heard it a million times before: comparing sport to warfare is one of the most well-worn cliches around, but let’s not forget… sport isn’t war. Not even a teeny fucking bit. It’s a bunch of highly paid, top-level athletes running around on a field trying to score more points than the other one. Yes there’s danger, risk of injury, physicality and violence – particularly in rugby – but in the grand scheme of things, the two aren’t comparable.
We’ll be the first to admit that we’re being a bit pedantic and humourless here, but we think the point is worth making. Sportsmen aren’t soldiers, and a kids’ game isn’t like going to war – drawing such overt comparisons is at best tacky, and at worst a little bit tasteless. And let’s not forget that on top of all that, camo looks absolutely, positively shit.
In truth, as camo shirts go, this isn’t quite as bad as that Bulls nadir of 2013 – the use of red, white and black here is about as inoffensive as camo gets, really, and if you wanted to hide yourself in a White Stripes video, you’d be perfectly attired.
It’s almost an achievement for a team to produce both home and alternate shirts that are utterly dreadful, but fair play to Edinburgh, they’ve absolutely smashed it here. It’s such a stark contrast to what Macron have done with the Scotland gear recently – all retro classiness and tasteful tartan – that we have to wonder what went wrong. That said, take a look at the new Scotland training kit, and you’ll be inclined to think that someone in either the SRU or Macron’s design team is a little preoccupied with camo patterns – let’s hope this eyesore has got it out of their systems, eh?
SHIT/GOOD RATING: Shit