For a team that won the Premiership title and made it to the Champions Cup semi-final last season, Saracens seem to be a team that don’t attract the headlines like more ‘fashionable’ English clubs such as Bath or Northampton. But with nearly a quarter of the Premiership season gone, they sit atop the table and undefeated – sleep on Sarries at your peril.
Saracens might have been keeping it low-key in the papers, but their shirts are rarely anything but subtle. One of the few professional teams (and the only top flight club team) left in rugby union wearing Nike, Sarries kits are always likely to cause a stir, and this year’s no different.
Incorporating much more red into the design than the stripey design they wore from 2013-15, with the large swathe of red across the bottom of the shirt. It’s a striking, dynamic effect, with the asymmetrical nature of the design almost looking like smoke or brush strokes as it swirls and fades up towards the midriff.
Like many Nike designs, it’s not going to delight the traditionalists, but once again with the Oregon giant, they know how to make a design that’s bold and modern, but isn’t busy.
The contrast between the red and black is striking of course, but asides from the red sleeve cuffs, the rest of the shirt has been left pretty much totally plain. It’s a smart move – when you have a striking motif on a shirt like this, you don’t want to limit the impact of it by adding too many other details, or cluttering it with kitchen sink design.
The alternate shirt is a basic palette-swap with the home, but it’s interesting that Sarries have reverted to the grey and light blue combination that they wore back in 2013/14, but eschewed for white for the last two seasons.
We’re really glad to see the combo return – some people really don’t like grey on rugby shirts, but we’ve seen it too many times in the last few years to not just accept that it’s a thing, and that in this case, looks fantastic alongside the light blue.
We don’t often talk about shorts on Rugby Shirt Watch – the clue is in the name! – but we think it would do these lovely shirts a disservice not to appreciate them in context of the shorts that go with them.
The shorts add a pretty much 50/50 split between the top and bottom colour when taken in combination with the shirt, and we think that it’s a very cool, very clever effect. It often seems that the shorts are a bit of an afterthought in kit designs sometimes – just look at the shambles of the Saints away kit shorts this season – so it’s nice to see them being made a proper feature.
As is often the case with Nike designs, the more you see of these shirts, the better they look. They’re striking and modern, sure – but there’s a simplicity to the designs otherwise that really work, and it’s also nice to see the home shirt use more red than the 13/15 designs. As ever, we’re left lamenting the fact that Nike don’t do more in the rugby world – it’s a damn shame!
SHIT/GOOD RATING: Good