The 2016/17 season is a hugely important one for the Cardiff Blues – after showing signs of progress last season and recruiting impressively in the offseason, the expectation is that the second year of Danny Wilson’s reign will see the Blues take their seat back at rugby’s top table.
This offseason has also been one of significant change for the Blues off the field, too. Since 2008/09 the Airbus Group (previously known as EADS) have been the capital region’s main sponsor, but 2015/16 sees a big change, and the recruitment of a new blue chip sponsor, Land Rover.
Aside from this rather significant new addition to the front of the jersey, the 2016/17 home design is identical to the design that Canterbury debuted last season, but that’s no bad thing at all.
We liked that shirt at the time, and in truth it’s only grown on us since – the combination of the sky blue pinstripes and sleeves still works really well… though we wish the Land Rover logo wasn’t in clashing green!
The 2016/17 away shirt, however, is a brand spanking new design for this season, and what a design it is, too – quite the contrast from the more subtle white away shirts of the last couple of seasons.
Cardiff have a long, long, long… long history of pink alternate jerseys in the last decade or so of Canterbury’s long affiliation with the region, but this one might be the classiest example they’ve come up with yet.
We all love hoops at the best of times, but there’s something eminently lovely about the dark blue and light pink colours used here. It’s not quite as garish and striking as pinks used in the past – it almost reminds you of that byword for rugby classiness, Eden Park.
We also really like the white shoulder and sleeve portions, too – it adds something a little bit different to what’s already a very cool design… even if it does remind you of Neapolitan ice cream…
The third jersey this season is another holdover from last season – the #StayStrongForOws jersey that was worn in Europe and Cup games (though it’s being labelled as the third shirt for this season).
Once again we have the gold hoops of Aberdare RFC are blended with the dark blue hoops of Cardiff to raise awareness and funds to support the ongoing care of former Wales, Blues and Aberdare player, Owen Williams.
The new sponsor hasn’t made this shirt any less stunning than it was last season, and we’re also pleased to note that both the home and away shirts sport #StayStrongForOws on the back of the collar, as well as the campaign’s logo on the bottom left hand side of the jerseys.
While the new sponsor hasn’t done much to change the appeal of the existing home and third shirts, the new Cardiff Blues away shirt is definitely worth making a fuss about – it’s a cool, individual design, that still somehow manages to look classic and classy. Nice.