These are interesting times for Australian rugby. While the Wallabies journey to the Rugby World Cup final created a positive vibe around the national side, various political spats and the dreadful form of the Aussie Super Rugby teams has brought that down to earth with a bump. Michael Cheika and his charges know all about that, however, and will see this summer’s England tour as a chance to restore some faith – they’ll need a new shirt to do it in though, of course…
To say that ASICS’ Rugby World Cup shirt didn’t go down universally well with Wallabies fans would be something of an understatement. The shirt, with its controversial green shoulder motif, was extremely unpopular with Aussie fans on its release – though as with any polarising jersey, the complaints became less noticeable once they started winning games in it!
Following the strength of the reaction last time, then, it’s unsurprising that 2016 version has opted to dispense with the green shoulder pad (we actually quite liked it, but never mind!), opting for a jersey that’s about as clean and classic as ASICS’ Wallabies shirts have got.
Not that it’s totally without interest of course – far from it. The Southern Cross shoulder motif has been retained for one, but the constellation is now green on yellow rather than the other way around, which is cleaner, and we imagine substantially more crowd pleasing, too.
Other elements hark back to the first shirt that ASICS made for the Wallabies back in 2014, with white piping running down from the collar to the armpit, while the front of the subtle V-shaped collar is once again green.
Those who hated the ‘zombie fingers’ grip material are shit out of luck here, however, as the er, unusual pattern, across the ribcage from last year’s shirt is retained – as is the brighter, less gold shade of yellow for that matter.
The reaction to the Wallabies World Cup shirt was vociferous enough that it’s hardly surprising to see ASICS opt for something a little more restrained this time around.
However, we’re glad they’ve opted to still make the Southern Cross a feature on the shoulder – it’s a cool idea, executed in a less polarising way here, and it’s the defining feature on what’s a very cool new shirt.