The players might have barely touched down from their season-ending tour of Japan, but the Scottish Rugby Union want to get us excited for the Autumn already, and they’re doing it by revealing their brand spanking new home and alternate shirts for 2016/17.
And if you’re looking at the home shirt and thinking ‘hang on, that’s exactly the same!’ well, yes, a little bit, but hold on a minute… yes, there’s a lot of familiarity here, but let’s not forget that Macron have made some of the nicest Scotland home shirts ever in the last few years, and if it ain’t broke…
Given that the new Scotland Sevens shirt broke from the trend by opting for a ring-neck design, we’re relieved to see the classic polo collar present and correct, and in many ways its hybrid of the 2013/14 and the 2015/16 designs, with a white collar accented with that rather lovely SRU tartan.
Round the back of the jersey is where the differences between this shirt and its predecessors differ most sharply, and it definitely takes things in a more modern direction.
It’s hard to see on the images we have available here, but rather than the plain blue shirt of the last two years, there’s a thick white stripe running across the top of the shoulders and down the sleeves, while the jersey is accented with thick purple stitching on the seams.
The back of the jersey itself is perhaps the most striking feature here – where the entirety of the body is embossed with a tone-on-tone tartan pattern, continuing the theme of Macron making the famous Scottish fabric a core part of the Scotland rugby identity.
It’s subtle, but distinctive, and definitely gives these shirts a more modern vibe than the ultra-retro home jerseys Macron has previously produced, but without sacrificing the classic look and feel that’s been so massively popular.
If the home shirt is trying to break out of the retro theme a little bit, the away shirt is unabashedly looking back into Scottish rugby history, and paying homage to one of the country’s nicest ever change strips.
Come with us, back to the heady days of 1996 – it was a year when Scotland agonisingly lost out on the Six Nations crown on points difference, and remarkably on reflection, the SRU’s jerseys were made by elderly men and golf club attire specialists, Pringle.
That year saw Scotland taking the field wearing a rather lovely pinstriped white change strip, memorably in the victory over France, and that’s clearly where this shirt is drawing its inspiration from.
We can’t help but feel that Macron have improved on the original Pringle design by adding some lovely colour accents on the sleeves and collar placket in the shape of pinstriped thistle green and purple bands.
Macron have had a bit of a mixed track record with Scotland change shirts in the last three years, but this has completely washed away any negative memories that their past efforts might have fostered – this is a stunningly gorgeous shirt, and given that Scotland are one of the most frequent wearers of their alternate design in world rugby, we’ll be happy to see a lot of it over the next year.
When it comes to home shirts, however, Scotland have been on a remarkable run of lovely shirts since Macron took over, and we’re pleased to say that the run continues in 2016/17. A great example of a shirt pushing into new territory without losing the DNA of what fans love. Top notch.