After two seasons where the Crusaders shirts were so awful we could barely watch them play, the men from Canterbury roared back to the upper end of the shirt design league table with their stunning, bold 2016 home shirt. If the 2015 home shirt was bad, however, the away shirt was a true abomination – so how does the new version fare? Let’s dive in…
First things first, let’s get the negatives out of the way – we went on at length about how tasteless and tacky the previous jersey incarnations awful chainmail effect looked, and also pointed out that the overt armour connotations were pretty unwelcome too. The home shirt definitely righted the wrongs in that regard – while we couldn’t ignore the plate armour motif on the bottom half of the design, it’s nowhere near as overt or tacky as chainmail… but what about here?
Well, it’s grey, which is a shade that instantly makes the armour look more armour-y, and again it raises the spectre of all those unfortunate connotations in the Crusaders name… and yet… well it looks bloody cool doesn’t it? The minimal contrast between top and bottom here also makes the armour motif a lot more subtle than the home shirt, the same can also be said for our friend on horseback.
Where things go a little bit wrong is round the back. The contrasting back and front colours thing was very popular last season, and while the home shirts did this to an extent, there was usually enough of the flat colour on the front to make the back feel like it fits in with the overall trend, as opposed to giving the impression that you’re looking at a totally different jersey from behind.
The problem is with the base of the shirt at the front – there needs to be a bit more black involved here, in order to make the transition from front to back less jarring, and yet unlike the home shirt, the fade to black only occurs right around the bottom of the design, and it barely noticeable.
That niggle aside though, this is a cool, classy treatment that continues the theme of the Crusaders home shirt without feeling too samey or derivative – it’s just a shame they couldn’t have made the back of the shirt grey, too.