Namibia have been ever present in the Rugby World Cup since they first qualified back in 1999, but in that time they’ve not exactly covered themselves in glory. They’ve never won a game, the closest they’ve ever got being a 32-17 defeat to Ireland in 2007. While the chances of them springing a surprise on the field are pretty slim, but can they at least offer some strong shirt game? Well…
After wearing shirts produced by Brutal Rugby (nope, us neither) during their World Cup qualifying, Namibia have signed up with a supplier much more worthy of the tournament for the World Cup, joining Canterbury’s large stable of teams.
And on first impressions, you have to say that the bods at CCC have done a fine job, creating something that feels significantly different to the other three Canterbury teams at the tournament. In previous tournaments, Namibia have generally worn shirts that feel like templates with a badge slapped on it, but this really feels like it’s been created specifically for the Welwitschias.
Like the other CCC teams, we get the new 360° Loop neckline, but it feels a lot different to, say, the England shirt – the contrasting white piping feels like a bit of a throwback to the 2007 days, where Canterbury’s shirts were positively replete with the stuff.
The primary design feature of the shirt is the rather unusual pinstriped effect that is certainly very different to anything we’ve seen from Canterbury or anyone else in this World Cup, and we think it looks really cool – sort’ve like a ribbed sweater, but in a good way, y’know?
Round the back, we’ve got two prominent white side vents, accented with red – they look pretty cool, we guess, but there’s something a bit 90s about the angular nature of them. Also on the back of the shirt we have the Namibian flag displayed prominently on the back of the shoulders – you could count on one hand the teams who haven’t used their national flag somewhere in the design in this tournament, a peculiar trend.
One really weird thing about this shirt relates to the replicas. The shirt we’ve reviewed today is the player’s shirt, which we’ll see on the field at the tournament. However, if you want to buy a Namibia replica shirt then well… er… what? Yup, for some reason the Namibian Rugby Union have commissioned a replica shirt that looks nothing like the real thing – it’s a totally different, much plainer design, with a totally different logo on it! While the alternative badge is a staple of Namibian sport (see our alternate shirt review for more), we’ve never had a totally different design for the replica before – it looks like a cheap knock-off, even though it isn’t! Anyway…
One of the most encouraging things we’ve seen at this World Cup has been the way that larger manufacturers have sought to create unique, bespoke, thoughtful designs for some of the smaller nations at the tournament. In the past the likes of Namibia, Japan or Romania had to make do with off-the-peg shirts with a badge and a patch slapped on, but it’s a testament to rugby’s growing popularity that this is no longer the case.
This is a really nice shirt – not the nicest thing that Canterbury has produced this World Cup, but decent – and has a much more modern design feel compared to most of Canterbury’s retro-futuristic combinations. Namibia might not make waves at this tournament, but they’re definitely not going to disgrace themselves in the shirt design stakes.
SHIT/GOOD RATING: Good