When Canterbury signed up Bath ahead of last season, it would have been understandable to assume that the Westcountry aristocrats would be showcasing the company’s stellar 150th anniversary shirts at the sharp end of both the European and domestic seasons… that didn’t go to plan, to put it mildly, but both sides will be hoping for better results in their second year together.
Unless you’ve been living under a rock for the last 10 months, you’ll probably know that Canterbury will be supplying the kits for the British and Irish Lions tour to New Zealand next year, and we don’t think it’s a coincidence that ahead of that, CCC has started experimenting with some interesting new retro collar designs on the recent Ireland, England and Leinster shirts – and Bath are the latest example.
The classic-style fold-over collar is the same as the one used on the recent Leinster away shirt, but with no polarising neon colours to distract us here, we can appreciate just how awesome that collar, combined with Canterbury’s trademark Loop neckline, looks on a rugby shirt – we wouldn’t be against the new Lions shirt sporting something very similar…
Collar aside, the classic, retro vibe continues in the same vein as last season, with the club’s iconic blue, black and white hoops all present and correct, though fans will probably be happy to see those hoops continue onto the sleeves this year.
While Bath’s 150th anniversary season is over, there is one aspect of last year’s special jerseys that has carried over to 2016/17, and that’s the use of gold trim – ostensibly to reflect Bath’s standing as one of the oldest clubs in the world, apparently. So, once again we have a gold CCC logo and gold detailing on the Bath badge, but we also have a gold collar placket, and gold collar underside – something that’s very visible thanks to the design of the rear of the fold-down segment.
We didn’t think it would be possible for is to like a Bath shirt more than last year’s 150th anniversary jersey, but this one really is something very special indeed.
If the home shirt is about as traditional and classic as they come, the away is something altogether more modern – and yet it’s all very retro nevertheless. What Canterbury is calling ‘marl grey’ is an interesting textured colour that looks very similar to the heathered grey t-shirts we’ve all worn to the gym a thousand times – but this isn’t exactly a new concept.
No, in fact in the last few seasons we’ve seen both Toulon and Racing Metro experiment with this sort of mottled grey effect on alternate shirts, so while it’s not totally unique, it’s most certainly bang on trend – and let’s face it, the French know a thing or two about style, don’t they?
And very stylish this is too – the marl grey looks superb paired with the white classic collar, combined with the blue placket and V-shaped cutout on the back and white shoulder panels, it all looks suitable retro. Meanwhile, we absolutely love the pinstriped blue, black and red sleeve cuffs which give a final preppy flourish to a very cool jersey.
We honestly didn’t expect Canterbury to be able to match the hugely crowd-pleasing retro vibes of last season’s 150th anniversary jerseys – they were cracking designs that deserved far better than the catastrophic slump that Bath suffered wearing them.
But not only have Canterbury matched last year’s efforts, they’ve surpassed them with a pair of brilliantly stylish retro jerseys that are clearly some of the best designs in the Premiership this year. And with its proper collar and classic hoops, we have no qualms about handing the home shirt a Gold Award, too…