On the back of Japan’s remarkable success at the Rugby World Cup, hopes were high that the first Japanese pro team to enter Super Rugby would be able to give a good account of themselves. In truth, the Sunwolves have had a pretty torrid time of it in their first season, but we don’t care about that, oh no… and you know exactly why this is.
We’re not going to say that the Sunwolves first ever jersey is objectively the nicest looking jersey that Canterbury have ever produced. It’s not clean and classy, it’s not packed with clever little details that so often make us fall in love with a jersey…
What it is however, is perhaps the most wonderfully insane rugby shirt we’ve seen in since the 90s – and that’s why we absolutely love it.
Let’s start with the little things here before we talk about the Big Bad Wolf in the room – everything about the Sunwolves is absolutely brilliant. The name? Brilliant. The absolutely bonkers ‘weird Manga half-wolf chewing on the team name like it’s the thigh bone of some poor backpacker who got lost in the woods‘ logo? Brilliant. The club’s utterly insane human-handed-wolf-headed mascot? Brilliant. This must-own item of Sunwolves official merchandise? BRILLIANT.
To be brutally honest, about the only thing about the Sunwolves that hasn’t been utterly amazing and brilliant, has been their results – but we don’t care about that, oh no, we’re here for the shirt, and we haven’t even talked about the best bit yet…
Yup, you all know what we’re talking about – Canterbury have only gone and sublimated a giant, extreme close-up image of a wolf’s face onto the body of the jersey. And not just any wolf face, oh no… it’s an image of a snarling, wild-eyed Insanity Wolf, rendered in creepy, grainy, found footage horror movie style, just to shit you up that little bit more.
From the way the slavering jaws bisect the jersey’s torso, to the single cold, menacing, murderous eye glares out at you from the collarbone, it’s just so wonderfully, inimitably batshit – especially when you consider how staid and conventional the Japanese club shirts we’ve looked at previously have been.
The away shirt tones things down a bit, for a given value of toning things down, by rendering the whole crazy mess in none-more-trendy grey, and if you’re struggling to pull off the eye-popping orange this might be the more sensible choice.
But then, sensible isn’t really the point with these jerseys, is it? Far, far from it.
We can’t in good conscience say that this is the ‘nicest’ rugby shirt we’ve seen this season, but for all the reasons described above, it might be our favourite. You might look a bit odd wearing one down the pub – but we’d wear it with pride.