Since Clermont Auvergne became the first professional rugby side to sign up with Under Armour back in 2010, the partnership has been a pretty successful one in all ways – Clermont have continued to live up to their standing as a European rugby superpower (without actually winning anything, in that frustratingly Clermont kinda way), and by and large, the gear UA has supplied for them has been pretty nice, too.
2015 sees the first new Clermont gear since 2013, and as is the Maryland firm’s way, the template used here is very similar to the new design shirts that we’ll see for UA test nations Wales and Canada at the Rugby World Cup, with the retro-style V-shaped collar. In the past, we’ve slated Under Armour a little for the similarity of all their shirts, which have generally just been colour-swaps, but this, well… it’s not like the others. Sadly.
Our hatred of camo on rugby shirts is something that most of you who’ve been reading this site for a while will be pretty familiar with. Time and time again, we’ve had to berate teams for using the pattern on their jerseys, and the refrain is pretty tired by now, but let’s reiterate – the rugby field is not actually like a war, no matter how many inaccurate metaphors comparing the two you wheel out, it’s a child’s game played by highly paid adults. Camo is also designed to make you blend in to terrain, and when you use it in a context other than that, it just looks shit. We really hope we never need to type that couple of sentences ever again.
And yet, apparently nobody told Under Armour those two facts, however, as the company has some form in using the dreaded motif in all its various modern forms in its US sports uniforms (though they’re by no means the biggest offender there), and now they’ve sadly brought it over to rugby, too. It looks dreadful, of course, besmirching what would otherwise be a plain, clean and rather nice design.
The colours used for this particular camo pattern is especially bad – with all the shades of blue, black and yellow, it’s the kind of camo that you’d only really use if you were attempting to keep a low profile in Ikea…
The away shirt is at least a bit different from what we’ve seen Clermont wear before – traditionally the alternate shirt has been blue, or in recent times grey, and the white has been the choice European competition has been blue. We’re not massively keen on this, to be honest – Clermont have worn white in Europe for so long, seeing it relegated to a change shirt here feels a bit wrong.
On the plus side though, as the new Euro kit is a ghastly black affair, they’ll have to wear something else when they play the Ospreys and Exeter away in the Champions Cup. Here’s hoping it’s the white, because it’s clearly the nicest of the three designs Clermont have this year.
Admittedly though, that’s kind of like saying you’re the best goal-kicking prop in your team – it’s an achievement to be the best of a bad bunch, but that doesn’t mean that you’re actually any good at it. At all.
We’ve often slated Under Armour for not really thinking outside the box enough with their shirt designs. The US giant tends to create a template for its teams, and then replicate it with the relevant colours swapped, and very little changes – we desperately wanted them to try to create shirts that were a bit more individual this time around, but uh… this really isn’t what we had in mind.
Instead, they’ve invoked the most ghastly of rugby shirt crimes, and in doing so have besmirched what could otherwise have been pretty cool designs in a way that there’s just no coming back from. On the plus side, at least it’s only on the trim as opposed to the whole jersey, but nevertheless, it’s still a shirt-ruining inclusion.
SHIT/GOOD RATING: Shit