When it was revealed that Wales’ shirts for the Rugby World Cup would include an unconventional addition of gold and oxblood to complement the traditional red, many fans were in uproar. However, a memorable World Cup with some incredible highs soon calmed down the naysayers, and good thing too, as they’ll be wearing the same design for the next two seasons.
Yes, the post-RWC shirt is identical to the design we saw for the global showpiece even, and that’s no bad thing at all, because despite the unconventional colour scheme it rapidly grew to become one of our favourite designs of the tournament.
We imagine that most of you have come to appreciate the gold and the oxblood, it’s worth reminding you of their significance to the design. The gold, is there to remind the players that just like Welsh gold, a player’s time in the Welsh shirt is rare and valuable, and that they should make the most of every moment they spend in it.
Similarly, the oxblood is a nod to the actual ox blood that was superstitiously added to the lime mortar that was used to bind the masonry of structures in Wales, believing this would imbue the building with extra strength and stability. It runs across the shoulders of the jersey here to symbolically strengthen the Welsh players.
Hammy as shit? Of course, but you have to appreciate the thought and creativity that’s gone into the story of this shirt.
If the home shirt was a hugely controversial and divisive at its launch, the away shirt had the opposite effect, with many fans remarking that it was one of the nicest alternate shirts that Wales have worn in years.
At least, that was how they felt until they wore it for the first time against Italy and most of the memorable moments for it involved really key Welsh players departing the field on a stretcher.
But with two more seasons of it featuring as Wales’s change design, there’s time for the jersey to shake off those negative associations, and it truly does, because there’s no getting away from it – this is one gorgeous jersey.
Combining the oxblood and gold of the home shirt with the dark blue/black ‘anthracite’ primary colour is a really, really lovely combination, and we also love the way that the main sponsor is coordinating gold here, too – why couldn’t they have done that with the home shirt?
The World Cup might have ended on a downer for Wales fans, but there’s no doubt that along the way they created some great memories, namely the remarkable victory over England at Twickenham.
If nothing else, that should have placed these shirts firmly in the hearts of Welsh fans, and that’s just where they ought to be – tradition be damned, these are two of the nicest jerseys in international rugby today.