Pau are one of the oldest clubs in the Top 14, and have enjoyed some sporadic success in their history. Indeed, as recently as 2005, the men from the Pyrenees reached the Challenge Cup final, but the following season it all went wrong, and Section Paloise were relegated from the top flight, where they’ve languished ever since. That is, until now…
Pau returned to the Top 14 this season having won Pro D2 at a canter, and they bring with them their distinctive white and green colour scheme. The green and white has been interpreted in a variety of ways over the years, perhaps most strikingly, the ‘mountain outline’ design of last season. This year however, they’ve gone for something much more retro.
Instead of stripes or mountains or anything more involved, instead we have a shirt that’s an utterly gorgeous combination of light green and white hoops, produced by Italian firm Macron.
You have to say, that Macron are a fabulous choice to produce a classic-looking jersey – as we’ve seen with the company’s recent creations for the Scotland national team, the company’s designers have a real respect for the vintage rugby shirt look, even going so far to include the crowd pleasing proper fold-over collar.
Pau have traditionally used dark green as a compliment to the white and lighter green, and here it’s been used in a very subtle but pleasant way, with the contrasting stitching around the arms and shoulders of the shirt tossing a splash of modernity into the more classic recipe.
Pau might not be the most fashionable team in the Top 14 this season, but this is hands down one of the most gorgeous shirts in this or any other league.
The alternate shirt takes the dark green tertiary colour of the home and gives it full prominence, and it’s another absolutely beautiful design, you have to say.
While the home was a a very traditional hooped affair, the away uses one of our favourite modern shirt trends, the subtle hoops – ever so slightly darker and lighter shades of green give a discreet hooping effect across the body of the jersey that looks absolutely great.
Like the home shirt we have the same light green classic-style collar, which looks all the more striking against the darker green, and thats then complimented by matching light green stitching.
While the striking outline of the Pyrenees mountains from last season’s design might have not been carried over this year, it’s nice to see the motif continued, however, with that same outline included at the bottom left on both home and away jersey.
Pau might be newcomers to the Top 14, but they’ve certainly not messed around in the recruitment stakes, picking up French internationals Julien Pierre and Damien Traille, Scottish prop Euan Murray, All Blacks fly-half Colin Slade and perhaps most impressively, all-world centre and double World Cup winner Conrad Smith.
It’s an impressive list of names then, and it would hardly do to clad such impressive players in a shirt that was a bit meh. Thankfully though, what Macron have produced here are two absolutely stunning shirts, mixing interesting colours with classic hooped designs to create a truly impressive combo that’s the equal of pretty much any team.
If we had to choose, we’d probably take the home and it’s a little bit more unusual, but whether they’re home or away, Section Paloise will be looking like they belong in the Top 14.
SHIT/GOOD RATING: Good