It’s a brave new dawn for Scotland. Well, maybe. It seems every Six Nations Scotland’s chances are talked up, only for fans’ hopes to be dashed, but this time it does feel different – a hugely encouraging World Cup, a settled squad and transitional noises coming from many of the other teams in the tournament has many a Scot starting to dream…
After a few years of wearing a jersey that – while spectacularly, unarguably gorgeous – wasn’t associated with too many fond memories, it’s also fitting that the World Cup resurgence was paired with another lovely new shirt, one that continues its useful life in tweaked form for this year’s Six Nations.
Macron shirts of the last few seasons have been exemplified by their call-backs to a more retro age, and the new designs are no different.
Again, we get the crowd-pleasing classic fold-over collar, this time in matching blue to give it an even more clean, vintage appearance, and the rest of the design echoes that feel.
There’s no doubt that the new sponsor BT’s logo on the chest does muddy the waters somewhat compared to the World Cup design – the plain BT bit would be totally fine, but there’s no escaping that the multi-coloured ball thingy on the right is very hard to make work on a plain, uncluttered jersey.
The BT Sport logo – seen on the back of the shoulders here – would be more of a palatable logo all round. That said, the very presence of that BT Sport logo is a bit concerning – while sponsors cluttering every spare inch of club jerseys is an unavoidable symptom of the game’s commercial realities, we’re not sure we’ve ever seen a back of the shoulder’s sponsor on a test jersey before.
National rugby unions aren’t poor – especially ones that are getting a slice of Six Nations and World Cup TV money – and the argument that every spare bit of space should be monetised to the detriment of the jersey is a shaky one. While we’ve come to live with main sponsors on the front of test jerseys, we hope that this isn’t the start of a trend.
The alternate shirt breaks from a trend of rather awful Scotland change shirts and might actually be even better than the home design, mainly down to the nice contrast the dark blue collar gives to the plain white shirt.
The white also makes the most prominent feature of the jersey – the none-more-Scottish SRU tartan pattern that graces the side panels on both home and away shirts – a lot more visible.
That’s a good thing, because these are two very plain and clean shirts, and they’d perhaps be a little to Spartan for their own good without that quintessentially Scottish flourish.
We don’t quite love the home shirt as much as the last iteration, we have to say, but it’s still a really lovely, classic-vibed design. Meanwhile, the alternate shirt is perhaps the nicest Scotland change strip in years, maybe ever?
If Scotland’s fortunes finally flower this tournament, they’ll be reaping their rewards while pretty immaculately turned out, but the logo creep on the back of the shirt sets a worrying precedent that we fear may be the start of the gradual cluttering of test jerseys – say it ain’t so…