Bordeaux Bègles are celebrating the 10th anniversary since the club was formed by uniting two grand old names of French club rugby – CA Bordeaux-Bègles Gironde and Stade Bordelais – and to mark the occasion, UBB have released three commemorative new jerseys.
Kappa and UBB have enjoyed a fruitful relationship over the last few seasons, with last year’s chevron’d designs marking a real high point. This year’s three jerseys are less uniform than the 2015/16 versions, as each one has a different ‘theme’ behind it.
The ‘home’ shirt, is officially known as the ’10 Years’ jersey (or 10 Ans, if you want to be pedantic), and on the face of it, it’s a pretty standard, clean maroon jersey with dark blue cuffs, and Kappa’s new collar design.
We love this new collar – this raised, ring-neck crossover-style design adds a splash of colour with three stripes of maroon, white and blue on the righthand side. It’s distinctive, unconventional, and very retro, too.
But of course, this isn’t just a plain maroon jersey – sublimated into the fabric on the front and back of the design are names, and lots of them. There are 193 different surnames printed into the shirt – representing every single player to represent Union Bordeaux Bègles in their first decade.
If we were to be brutally honest, we’re not madly in love with the font used here, as it looks a bit tacky, but it’s a nice way of representing the history and growth of the club as they’ve raised themselves from Pro D2 up to the Top 14.
The away shirt is known as the ‘Heritage’ jersey (Patrimoine) and is very similar to last season’s home shirt – a plain white design sporting a three-striped chevron that runs across the middle of the chest.
The chevron is actually a traditional sporting symbol of teams from the Gironde department, so its use on a jersey that’s designed to reflect the sporting heritage of the region is very fitting.
Another nice feature on this and all this year’s jerseys is a subtle X on the back of the collar – representing 10 years, of course, and the club’s preferred hashtag has also been added to the bottom of the rear of the shirt.
Putting the club’s social media details on the shirt is quite a common thing now (though it seems to have waned a little as the novelty has worn off) but not many teams have gone down the hashtag route. We actually think it’s a good idea, as it shows fans how they can demonstrate their allegiance to the club on social media, and connect with fellow UBB fans too.
The European jersey might be the nicest of the lot – in fact it might be the one of the nicest shirts we’ve seen all season. This is the ‘Atlantique‘ shirt, and it’s all about the ocean – namely the Atlantic, whose waves lap the coastline of the Gironde region.
The top half of the shirt is meant to reflect the ocean itself, and namely the famous Arcachon Bay, with its stunning clear blue waters and beautiful sandy beaches. The bottom half of the shirt draws on French maritime history, namely the famous Marinière shirts historically worn by French sailors.
It’s a stunning jersey, which makes it all the more a pity that the design is hampered by the inclusion of one of the more unsightly sponsor placements we’ve seen in quite some time. The SFR logo looks totally out of place sitting alone on the left breast, and while it looks odd on the 10 Years shirt, on the Heritage and Atlantique shirts they haven’t just made it orange, they’ve made it 50 per cent bigger too!
It’s a shame, because it’s a blot on what would otherwise be three really, really lovely designs – we try not to let unsightly sponsor logos impact our verdicts too often as they’re an unavoidable reality of modern rugby, but sometimes they’re so bad that it really does impact our feelings on a shirt. In this case it’s the only thing stopping us from bestowing a Gold Award on them.