As the reigning Super Rugby champions, the Highlanders will be attracting a lot of attention this season – a bit of a new vibe for a team that’s generally spent much of its history away from the limelight outside the playoff places. But while the Highlanders brand of rugby is dynamic and exciting, their 2016 home shirt is a rather demure and understated affair – lovely, yes, but hardly a shirt that catches the eye. Things could not be more different with their away jersey however…
Last season the Highlanders opted for a seriously bright green alternate design, and the 2016 treatment has taken that idea and transformed it into something even more unique and attention-grabbing. The tartan pattern on the home shirt was a subtle flourish on a very reserved and classy design, but this is something different altogether.
Bold vertical colour contrasts have been very much on Adidas’ mind during this Super Rugby jersey design cycle, but the Highlanders home shirt bucked the trend by keeping the dark blue colour flat and constant throughout. This is clearly not the case here however, as the plain white base jersey has been brought to life with a seriously bright top section rendered in a similar (but possibly more neon?) shade of green to last year’s change shirt.
The tartan pattern on the home shirt was very subtly accented in various subtly different shades of blue, but it’s rightly given far more prominence here, with the various shades of green contrasting much more sharply with the white bottom half of the design. It’s not a look that will excite the traditionalists of course, but Adidas has shown very little appetite to pander to the old school this year, and so we can’t complain about them sticking to their guns here.
This is an absolutely awesome, memorable shirt – the sort of bold and brash shirt that you’d have to be a champion to really pull off. Yes, there’s something about the colour palette that does remind us of a Mint Cornetto, but frankly they’re the best ones, so who cares?