Ever since the Sharks became the first South African team to sign up with Australian rugby specialists BLK back in 2014, they’ve kept things pretty clean and subtle, but with the Natal team’s new 2016 jerseys, that has all changed…
Instead of a regular pattern, we have a truly unique and eye-catching series of geometric patterns running from the bottom of the jersey to the top. Some people have rather disingenuously compared it to those jumpers you see Scandinavian murder detectives wear, but it’s no mere pattern…
No, instead BLK has created a series of patterns that are inspired by the rich art and culture of the KwaZulu-Natal province, with each of the five distinct sections representing a a different pillar of the Sharks brand – innovation, courage, passion, unity and perseverance.
So much marketing bollocks? Well, maybe, but even if you don’t care about any of that, there’s little doubt that the Sharks and BLK have created one of the most striking and individual shirts around.
In addition to an identical plain white away shirt (which we couldn’t find images of at time of writing), the Sharks will also be wearing an additional alternate jersey for select games this season, and it’s a cherry bomb.
Cherry is a new look for the sharks, but it’s a pretty unusual one, that’s for sure – you see plenty of red jerseys, pink jerseys, even a few purple ones, but we haven’t seen many shirts in a hue that quite so reminds us of Cherry Chap Stick…
It looks cool though, especially set against the white. The amount of white on show in both home and alternate shirts is a bit of a departure from recent Sharks jerseys, which have generally been all black with very small amounts of white trim.
The sheer amount of white trim used on the side and sleeves here (notice the subtle little shark fin on the bottom of the side panel?) is more reminiscent of the Sharks Currie Cup team – we don’t know if thats intentional, but it’s a nice throwback to team that spawned the current Super Rugby outfit.
Last season, we griped that the very slight refresh of the Sharks design was a little underwhelming, and hoped that the good folk at BLK would try something a bit different this time around.
Well, we certainly got our wish. The 2016 Sharks jerseys are not only some of the most distinctive shirts in Super Rugby, but the design elements have a purpose and a story that goes beyond just ‘well that looks cool’, and that’s something we always like to see.