It’s safe to say that the last few years have not really gone to plan for Munster – after a decade where they were the dominant rugby power in Ireland and indeed Europe, they’ve ceded that crown in recent years first to Leinster, and now Connacht. Safe to say that was not in the script.
So, off the back of a 2015/16 season where the province suffered setbacks both on and off the field, in the immortal words of D:Ream, things can only get better, and Munster will be hoping to make progress this season wearing a natty new away shirt from Adidas.
Adidas have not been shy in embracing bold, unconventional modern designs in recent seasons – just take a look at what the brand came up with for the New Zealand Super Rugby teams this year – and this shirt very much continues that theme.
The most striking part of this image is, of course, that giant ruddy stag that covers the right hand side of the the jersey, a nod of course, to the stag that’s proudly stood on the Munster crest since the club abandoned the old three crowns badge for copyright reasons back in 2003.
The stag is of course a symbol of the old McCarthy family of Munster, and is supposed to represent the resilience and determination of the Munster team – and you have to say that the stag here certainly has a look of determination about him. That, or he looks like he’s watching some kids are playing outside his house through the living room curtains and he’s absolutely fuming about it. Either or, really.
Other than our grumpy stag, this shirt is notable for the return of something rather traditional – namely the colour. For the last year or two Munster have moved away from the traditional dark blue change shirt in favour of black, or indeed neon green. This feels a bit more ‘Munster’ than those jerseys, and that can only be a good thing.
Another theme of Munster away jerseys for the better part of a decade has been the aforementioned splash of neon colours, to a greater or lesser degree, and here we have a similar splash of bright colour around the sleeves, and on the sponsors – it’s not quite neon, but it’s definitely eye-catching.
In fact, the only thing we really dislike about this shirt is the fact that there isn’t a bit more yellow used – namely on the shoulder stripes. The grey not only looks dull, but doesn’t really work with the rest of the design in our opinion, and yellow or a different shade of blue would have been better in our opinion.
So, if 2016 has taught us anything, it’s that ‘shirts resplendent with intimidatingly emotive animals on them’ is becoming a thing. From insane wolves to angry bulls and now recalcitrant stags, we can only imagine what the future holds. Pensive ocelots? Watch this space.