Earlier this week we began our examination of the first ever professional rugby league in the USA, PRO Rugby, and despite plenty of negativity surrounding the efforts of first-time supplier Champion System, we found ourselves being rather taken with the San Francisco design. Can that continue with the Denver team’s jersey? Let’s dive in…
Well… it’s definitely purple, isn’t it? To European eyes, the sight of purple on a sports jersey is something of an eyebrow raiser – you’re looking at Fiorentina and er, that’s about it – but for US sports fans it’s much more commonplace.
From the NFL, the NBA and beyond, purple is a common and accepted colour in US sports – hell, as friend of RSW and UniWatch svengali Paul Lukas pointed out in a recent ESPN column, purple (and teal) were probably the two most commonly used and popular colours in US sports uniforms in the 1990s.
Sadly, we don’t think that Denver has quite hit the mark here – there’s something about the pattern, and the myriad contrasting stripes and panels that lends the home shirt a bit of a ‘teamwear jersey from the early 2000s’ vibe.
Apparently the jagged nature of the stripes represents the giant peaks of Denver’s Rocky Mountains, but to us, it has more of a tribal look about it. And call us crazy, but we think tribal designs are things for gap year travellers to get regrettably scrawled their bodies dodgy tattoo shop in Phuket, not rugby shirts.
There’s little doubt that the alternate shirt improves on the home shirt by calming things down on the colour front and restricting the main body of the design, it feels less 90s than the home, certainly.
Ultimately, if you like the colours, you can probably forgive the tramp stamp connotations, but we’re not entirely sure they work. We mentioned in our review of the San Francisco shirts that there seems to have been a conscious effort to nod to the local sports franchises, and we wonder if the same has been done here.
The designers seem to have opted for the purple, black, silver and white of the Colorado Rockies MLB team here, rather than the more obvious hues of say the Broncos orange and blue, or the Nuggets yellow and powder blue… whether that works for you will depend on just how much you like purple.
Denver have shown they’re one of the strongest teams in PRO Rugby in the first weeks of the season, and in former Springbok Pedrie Wannenburg they have the league’s most high-profile foreign player – they also have the most polarising jerseys in the tournament.
UPDATE: The Denver PRO Rugby team name has been chosen, so they are now known as the Denver Stampede!