The Great Rugby World Cup 2015 Shirt Countdown: 20-11

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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. But with all these reviews, we’ve still not answered the most important question – which shirt is the best? At Rugby Shirt Watch we never shy away from a challenge, so this week, we’re ranking 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.

It’s getting exciting now – we’re into the top half of the table, and any shirts featured here can be proud of themselves, if also a little disappointed that they couldn’t quite crack the top 10. This is also where it all gets pretty hard. By and large the shirts for this World Cup have been top notch, and such has been the excellence and variety of designs, it’s been pretty hard to pick between them. Still, pick between them we must, so let’s dive in!

Read The Great Rugby World Cup 2015 Shirt Countdown: 40-31
Read The Great Rugby World Cup 2015 Shirt Countdown: 30-21

20 Fiji Alternate

FijiRWC15AltFront

We appreciate that a lot of you will disagree with this, as this shirt has gone down very well online, but while it’s a nice design, we felt the white-to-black fade was just a teeny bit too chintzy to merit a place higher up in our run-down. Still a cool-ass shirt, though, and one that gives greater prominence to the chest motif.

19 Tonga Home

TongaRWC15HomeFront

A shirt that’s quite similar, thematically to the Fiji shirt that’s just below it, but we really like the subtlety of design here. The white tribal motif on the shoulder is really distinctive, as is the crown on the opposite side, and the pattern under the sleeves is very discreet, but in an enjoyable way. That ‘Elvis’ collar is a bit Marmite, though…

18 Romania Alternate

RomaniaRWC15AltFront

Okay, first up, this is such a nicely put together shirt – the white and black is really striking, there are loads of clever little touches, such as the pinstripes of Romanian flag colours around the base of the design, and the ‘rug’ pattern is intricate and unique and all that… it also clearly looks like a gentleman’s vegetables. The position, the shape, the weird little things that stick out from the side like a pair of pointy balls… get ready for some sniggers when they wear this at the RWC…

17 England Alternate

EngRWC15HomeFront

England sensibly opted to revert to the more traditional red alternate shirt after all the furore about their black shirt in 2011, and this is a pretty decent design. It suffers a little from the two-colour thing that blighted the Ireland alternate shirt, but the combination of the dark and lighter shades of red here works infinitely better. Good job, too, as England are being forced to wear it for the opening game of the tournament against Fiji on Friday night…

16 Scotland Home

ScotlandRWC15HomeFront

We said these decisions were getting tough… many people said this was their favourite shirt of the tournament, and we love it too, no doubt. But in spite of its retro-loveliness, the combination of blue collar and blue shirt makes it look a little polo-shirty, while the tartan side vents don’t stand out enough to break it up. Is it still an absolutely gorgeous shirt, though? 100%.

15 USA Home

USARWC15HomeFront

After placing Scotland so low, we realise that this is going to get some people (mainly ones in tartan) reaching for the torches and pitchforks but… look, we think this is one of the coolest designs of the tournament. It’s subtle, without being boring or plain, and it’s unique and nationally-relevant without being gaudy. The stars across the midriff, the red and white stripes… it’s as USA as it gets, without going down the Fourth Of July fireworks route.

14 Wales Alternate

WalRWC15AltFront

With its blue-black Anthracite colour, the new Wales alternate shirt might not have won too many friends after Rhys Webb and Leigh Halfpenny saw their tournaments ended in the final warm-up game, but the dark colour really allows the oxblood and cold stripes to pop, and despite the ‘Belgium football shirt’ jibes, we think this is one of the nicest alternate designs of the tournament, and definitely the nicest one Under Armour have produced for Wales.

13 Fiji Home

FijiRWC15HomeFront

Another popular shirt on social media, and it’s not hard to see why. On the surface it’s clean, classy and white, as a Fiji shirt should be, but when you look closer, the clever little touches – the tribal motif on the side vents, the civavonovono sublimated into the chest – reveal themselves.

12 South Africa Home

SARWC15HomeFront

The first shirt to be revealed for the tournament, all the way back in June, and it’s also one of the nicer ones. There was some grumbling about the amount of gold on the sleeves, but we think it’s a nice way to set the shirt apart from previous designs, and if it is, as we suspect, a nod to the 1999 shirt, then it’s a clever little nod to the last time a World Cup was held on UK shores…

11 Japan Home

JapanRWC15HomeFront

Japan and Canterbury have been together for as long as pretty much any team and supplier in world rugby has been, so it’s refreshing to see the bods at CCC can still think of something cool to do with the design – the curved hoops are awesome and unusual, and ensure that the Japan shirt will stand out from everyone else at the tournament.

Well, that’s it – we’re three quarters of the way through The Great RWC Shirt Countdown, and as you can see, the decisions are getting harder and more contentious! 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 rounding off our look at the RWC2015 shirts with the top 10!

Read The Great Rugby World Cup 2015 Shirt Countdown: 40-31
Read The Great Rugby World Cup 2015 Shirt Countdown: 30-21

Buy Rugby World Cup 2015 shirts from WorldRugbyShop.com

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2 comments

  1. Still not getting the Scotland vibe. Just not doing it for me. Fiji is always an outstanding shirt so it is hard to…ahem… fuck it up. The alternate deserves a better ranking. US also is a little high. Nice shirt but Namibia’s and some others were nicer. Of course, as I wear my Namibia jersey with the octopus/plant thingy as opposed to that wonderful sea eagle, I would have disqualified much like you did the alternate Uruguay.

  2. I’m assuming that flipping up the sleeves on the Scotland shirt bumps it into the top 10, because there’s no way it should be ranked below the Wales away model.

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