Over the last few months we’ve brought you reviews of every single Rugby World Cup shirt we could get our hands on – if there was a picture of it, you’ll find a review for it on Rugby Shirt Watch. They’ve been bold, they’ve been brash, they’ve been beautiful and they’ve been… er… not… but as we enter the fever pitch of World Cup kickoff week, there’s one question that remains to be answered – which shirt is the best? At Rugby Shirt Watch we never shy away from a challenge, so over the next four days, we’ll rank every single shirt on show at this World Cup – 40 shirts in all – from worst to best, until we reach the fabled number one: the best shirt of Rugby World Cup 2015.
Not ranking highly on our countdown doesn’t mean a shirt is bad, by the way – it’s just not as good as some of the others, and trust us when we say that there have been a lot of really lovely shirts on show at this World Cup. But, where’s the fun in everyone being equal? It’s time we sorted this out once and for all – let’s get stuck in…
40 Uruguay Alternate
You might say this is harsh, but when you don’t even turn up for a race, you tend to end up finishing last (yes, technically you’d be unclassified, but shut up, go with it…). And so it is with the Uruguay alternate shirt – we took a look at the home shirt ages ago, and yet with a mere four days to go before the start of the tournament, we’ve yet to see hide nor hair of the change shirt. One must exist, tournament rules say so, but we’ve been unable to find a single image of it – until such a time as we see otherwise, it’s automatically in last place.
UPDATE: Thanks to commenter Mauricio for digging out this photo of the alternate shirt, and uh… oh… it’s a bit shit. Never mind, as you were!
This shirt places low, not because it’s a bad design, it’s not, in fact we rather like it, but it’s more a mark down for overall effort. The All Blacks will wear their pre-tournament change shirt with requisite RWC patch on the right breast at the tournament, but so unenthused are they by that notion, they haven’t even released a picture! We get the ‘All Blacks’ thing, guys, but do us rugby shirt websites a favour, eh?
Georgia are a small nation, we get that, but as if fobbing them off with a two-year-old template isn’t disappointing enough, it’s unfortunate that Under Armour’s templates also date rather badly. The T-bar on the front looks like a bra, and it’s all generally a bit phoned-in and uninspiring.
Two in the bottom 10 for the Uruguayans, and given the pool their in at the World Cup, they might want to get used to coming last… There’s nothing terrible about this shirt, it’s just a bit dated, but it’s also totally and utterly forgettable, which is the last thing you want as a RWC minnow.
Canterbury are generally Halfpenny-esque (sniff, always in our hearts, Leigh) when it comes to shirt designs – metronomically good. This one definitely drifts wide of the posts, however – the black body with the green 360° Loop neckline just looks a bit weird, and more like a training shirt than an on-field jersey.
While we prefer this slightly over the home design, purely on the basis of red and white looking a bit better than the black and red, and making the ol’ bra thing a bit less obvious, it’s still a two-year-old design being dragged back into service. Like Nick Easter, there’s nothing wrong with it, but deep down, you know its best days are in the past…
34 Italy Alternate
Another lesser-spotted Adidas shirt. To our knowledge this is the only image in existence of Italy change shirt (the guys over at Planet Rugby literally had to photoshop a player out to create it!), and so that automatically gets marked down for that. It’s actually quite a tidy design, but in the vein of the home shirt (more on that later), it’s almost too plain, and the weird striped collar is a definite step down from the lovely pre-RWC effort.
Without a doubt one of the most controversial shirts of the tournament. When it was released, the reaction in Australia was nothing short of vitriolic, as the media and fans piled in on the green shoulder pad thingy. In truth, we quite like it, especially in the flesh, but it’s not a classic, and those ‘zombie fingers’ grip surfaces on the ribs just look weird.
Perhaps the plainest shirt of the World Cup, Canada’s alternate shirt is just unbelievably boring. It’s not bad, aesthetically… but Christ it’s a little underwhelming, isn’t it? Especially when you consider the proud history of Canada wearing marvellously fugly alternate shirts at the RWC. Yawn.
Yes, this shirt is gloriously, wonderfully bonkers – take note, Canada – with it’s myriad stripes, stars and hell there’s probably a bald eagle and some apple pie in there somewhere, but while we really love this shirt, it’s a bit of a mess, too. Make this shirt 10 per cent less ‘Murica, and you have a universally lovely thing – as it is, it’s not quite up to the standards of other shirts on show.
There you have it! The first 10 entries in our massive World Cup Shirt Countdown! Don’t agree? Tell us in the comments below, or shout at us on Twitter or Facebook, and be sure to check back tomorrow when we’ll be running down the next 10 shirts!