It’s been four years since Argentina joined the Rugby Championship, finally giving them the seat at the top table they’d long deserved. But while the Pumas have progressed enormously in that time, they’ve had to overcome the logistical issues caused by most of their squad playing in Europe – not any more. Finally, with the tournament’s expansion to 18 teams, Argentina now has its own Super Rugby team – Los Jaguares.
Like the Pumas, the new Buenos Aries-based team is supplied by Nike… and once again we find ourselves just wanting to stand back and applaud. From the classic simplicity of the Pumas’ World Cup shirts, the sleek but modern Sevens shirt or the all-time beauty of the 50th Anniversary shirt, you could argue that no supplier has had more hits recently than Nike… and these two shirts just keep that ball rolling.
There’s more than a passing similarity to the Argentina Sevens design in the home shirt, but that’s hardly a bad thing is it? In fact it continues a trend we’ve seen from Nike a lot over the past few years – mixing a dark colour with strikingly bright accents to create a hugely eye-catching design.
And eye-catching this home shirt most certainly is – the contrast between the black and the bright orange on the sleeve cuffs and main sponsor is just so striking, and once again the checkerboard grip material on the chest breaks up the design, stopping it feeling too plain, giving the top half of the shirt a pseudo-hooped feel.
It all comes together to frame the Jaguares badge, which we have to say might be our favourite one in Super Rugby already – what’s cooler than an impressionistic jaguar roaring into the sky we ask you? Not a whole lot, we’d reply.
Shirt nerds might also like to note that the Nike swoosh, rather than being the same orange as the main sponsor, is a slightly lighter hue to coordinate with the Jaguares crest on the opposite side – attention to detail that you rarely see anywhere else.
If the home shirt was striking then we’re not sure what to say about the away design – after three years and hundreds of thousands of words of bullshit written about rugby jerseys, this shirt might finally have rendered us speechless!
There’s more going on here than on the home shirt, but again it’s all so sleek and subtle, it really does reward a closer look. Rather than being a straight black-for-orange swap, instead the body of the shirt is awash with shades of orange, giving the design a very unusual horizontal striped effect.
On closer inspection, you can see that this effect is created using varied thicknesses of light and dark orange stripes running down the length of each stripe, giving the front of the shirt an even more tactile feel than the home, combining with the grip material to give the top half of the jersey a 3D checked effect.
Bright orange is a colour that doesn’t really have much of a place in rugby, with a few notable exceptions, and even when it is used, it’s never been used in such a striking way as this – the black accents have the opposite effect of the home shirt, grounding the shirt and stopping it feeling too garish.
As you might have gathered from the last 400-odd words of gushing, we absolutely love these shirts – in fact they might be our favourite designs we’ve seen from any team in Super Rugby this season… possibly anywhere.
With Argentina’s new international selection policy meaning that the bulk of the Pumas squad that lit up the World Cup last year are signed on with Los Jaguares, they could be one of the most exciting teams in the tournament. It makes these stunning shirts all the more appropriate.
The easiest Gold Award we’ve given all year!