We’re nearly at the end of our journey through all of the weird and wonderful shirts at this Rugby World Cup. But with the first game mere weeks away now, we’ve still got a few stragglers to get through before the big kickoff, including the new Tonga alternate shirt from Preston-based supplier Kukri. Well, let’s not waste time here, there’s shirts to be reviewed…
From the off, it’s plain to see that this is a straight palette-swap with the home shirt we looked at a few weeks ago. The collar in our image here is different, but that’s because the only images we’re able to currently source for this shirt are of the supporter’s version – the on-field design will have the same round-neck, Elvis-collared design as the home…
It’s always a little disappointing when teams aren’t a bit more adventurous with their alternate shirts. Even if they do choose to stick with the same basic design, as the home shirt, they could at least be a bit different with the colours involved. After all, the new Georgia change shirt is based on a two-year-old template and is identical to the home in basic design, but opting for a red instead of white at least made it feel fresh. Wouldn’t a yellow or blue alternate shirt here, borrowing from the background colours of the badge, been a bit more exciting?
That said, there’s nothing wrong with this design, and as with the home, the red tribal motif is very striking against the white background, and really makes the jersey feel a bit different to what else we’ve seen at this World Cup (bar the home shirt, natch). That said, the colour scheme here has definitely given increased prominence to two design features that were a little harder to spot on the home.
By making them a striking grey against the white, the tribal pattern under the arms and the striking Royal Crown of Tonga motif on the left sleeve are given much more prominence here, and make the design feel subtly different to the home. It’s a similar kind of trick to what BLK did with the Samoa alternate shirt, although it’s a lot less striking. Still, it makes it feel a bit different, at least.
A simple palette swap this may be, but at least the increased prominence of features that were harder to spot on the home shirt makes this feel a bit less like a copycat. That said, while it’s a nice shirt, we’d still like to see more suppliers moving away from this and giving teams the unique alternate shirts that they deserve.
SHIT/GOOD RATING: Good, if a little samey