Hot on the heels of cementing themselves as Wales’ number one region last season by being the only Welsh team to qualify for the Champions Cup, the Scarlets are going right back to basics in 2016/17, let’s take a look at the new shirt…
Now, regional rugby is a funny old thing, particularly in the case of the two regions that trace their roots back to a single club, the Blues and the the Scarlets. You see, technically, the Scarlets are not the same as Llanelli RFC – that club still competes in the Welsh Premiership – and so equally technically you could say that the Scarlets didn’t exist until 2004.
However, that’s a rather feeble legal distinction when you’re talking about a club that plays in the same red jersey as Llanelli RFC, with the nickname of Llanelli RFC, and that lays claim to the long history of one of Wales’ oldest clubs, and that heritage is what this year’s back-to-basics jersey is all about.
This year marks 145th season that the Scarlets in one guise or another, have played rugby, and while that’s not what you’d call one of the big anniversaries, traditionally, it’s a big old number, and Kooga has chosen to reflect this long, storied history with a shirt that it describes as more ‘modest’ than previous years.
The focus here is on honouring the simplicity and elegance of the timeless deep red jersey that was first worn by Llanelli back in 1884, so there’s no weird wavy lines, no sublimated patterns, or no varying shades of red here – just a simple, classy red jersey, with almost no ornamentation outside of some raised stitching across the shoulders, and a thin white insert in the stub collar.
Keen eyes will notice that BT Sport has been replaced as the club’s main sponsor by just plain old BT, but with a twist – to keep with the vibe of the restrained, old-school shirt, the company’s multi-coloured logo has been given a monotone treatment.
We love this sort of thing, because so often clashing sponsor colours can ruin the overall look of a jersey, and the BT logo has been a primary offender on several shirts in the past. We wish more sponsors would allow this complementary approach – it doesn’t diminish the presence of the logo at all, and makes for a much better looking shirt over all.
When a team goes back to basics like this, the danger is that it can look a bit too plain and nondescript for its own good, but given the slightly ill-advised sojourns into more weird and wacky designs over the last few years, this is a marked improvement, and will be popular with fans and neutrals alike.