Since their Super Rugby-winning season back in 2011, things have not always been easy for the Queensland Reds, both on and off the field. The Reds haven’t made the playoffs since 2013, and finished second-to-last in the Australian conference in both the last two years. They’ll be hoping to buck the trend for 2016 of course, and again they’ll be aiming to do it wearing new jerseys from BLK.
The Aussie supplier has kept things very, very clean for the last two years – perhaps a touch too clean at times, and we’ve kinda been wishing that the Reds would go for something a bit more interesting for a while now. Well, wait no longer.
Indeed, rather than the plain red shirts we’ve become accustomed to from the Reds, we have a large strip running down the centre of the jersey, made up of thin dark blue hatched stripes.
The effect is actually quite similar to the Toulouse 15/16 shirts in the use of the prominent central stripe, but it’s a slightly more subtle effect than what was used by the French club – and a lot less Knight Rider-y!
Given that the Reds’ colours are the unusual and nice mix of red and dark blue, we’ve been slightly perturbed that the club haven’t made more of it in their jerseys in recent years, but that’s clearly been rectified here. In addition to the stripe down the front, we also have accents on the collar, sleeves and piping up the ribcage.
If the home jersey emphasises the dark blue a touch more, the away shirt really makes it the hero. Breaking from the trend of rather meh red and white alternate shirts, the 2016 change strip is predominantly that lovely dark blue, with the pallete-swapped red accents really popping on the dark background.
Honestly, given that the Reds’ white alternate shirts always looked a little emaciated (or, gulp, a bit like England rugby shirts), we think the switch to dark blue is a smart one – it makes the most of the club’s secondary colour, and what’s more, the shirt is damn cool, too!
BLK has Christened the new Reds home shirt ‘The Million Dollar Jersey’ as a reflection of the amount of money the Australian firm has ploughed into developing the tech involved in creating this shirt. It’s not just this shirt, of course – we don’t imagine the Reds’ jersey is much different, technologically, to the Ospreys, Connacht or Toulouse shirts we’ve seen this year, but ‘The £480,000 Jersey’ doesn’t really have the same ring, does it?
Still, whatever hi-tech nonsense is going on under the hood, all we really care about is how the damn thing looks, and we’re happy to say that it most certainly does look a million dollars, in both home and away variants. The nicest Reds jersey in a few years.
SHIT/GOOD RATING: Good