The Hurricanes were one of the big surprise packages of the 2015 season. After six years out of the playoffs, the Canes shocked everyone by winning the New Zealand conference, on the back of a thrilling style of attacking rugby that utilised the electric talents of Nehe Milner-Skudder, Julian Savea and Beauden Barrett, riding them all the way to an unlikely final appearance with the equally unfancied Highlanders.
Expectations for the Wellington franchise will be substantially raised this season, then, and they’ll be hoping to meet those expectations wearing a new and very different shirt to go with it, courtesy of Adidas.
Canes shirts have traditionally been yellow and black, with the former being by far the most dominant shade, particularly in recent years. Like the Crusaders this year, though, times they are a changing, and like the ‘Saders black is most definitely back, in a way that it hasn’t really been since 1999.
There’s no fade here, as we’ve seen on the Blues and Crusaders jerseys this season, and instead we have a very clear divide – shoulder and sleeves yellow, and the main body of the jersey is black. It’s not entirely black, however – look closer and you’ll see that sublimated into the black is a very subtle large hurricane motif, which is similar to the design on last year’s Super Rugby jerseys, and then a smaller version on the yellow bit.
The motif is designed to represent the four winds (Ng Hau e Wha) that collide together and unite the Wellington region (Te Hau Awhio) – so now you know!
There’s no getting away from the fact that it has a bit of a Star Trek Voyager vibe in some ways, but we think it looks fantastic on the whole – last year’s all-black away shirt was one of the nicest shirts in Super Rugby, and we’re delighted to see some of that cool, moody vibe being brought into the home shirt.
One aspect of the traditional Hurricanes colour scheme has paid the price for this change, however, and that’s the blue. A royal shade of blue has usually been used for stripes, accents and the like as a third colour, but here it’s nowhere to be seen – understandably so, as it did make the shirts look a bit 90s sometimes. It’s not entirely without blue, however – look closely at the middle of the chest and you’ll see a blue-grey solid stripe, dividing the yellow and black portions of the jersey. Cool.
Given their patchy Super Rugby record, the Hurricanes jerseys have often been the best thing about them in the last few years. The talent in that squad would indicate that things are going to change in that regard, but let’s not beat around the bush here – this is still an incredibly cool and distinctive jersey by anyone’s standards.