Hot on the heels of revealing a brand new home shirt, the RFU and Canterbury have launched their brand spanking new England change shirt, which Dylan Hartley and company will be wearing for their home test against Fiji this September.
Since Canterbury took over the England contract from Nike back in 2012, red has been the favoured choice of change shirt colour (let’s not talk about the purple one), but this year sees the return of the blue.
Canterbury brought this colour back to its traditional place on the home kit’s socks back in 2013, of course, but this is the most prominence they’ve ever given it on a shirt, and that’s no bad thing at all – the colour was used for one of England’s best shirts ever, let’s not forget.
The most striking feature of this shirt, is of course, the splash of red across both the chest and the back – this unique impressionistic take on the St George’s cross is made up of myriad tiny spots, apparently a nod to the tradition in the early 1900s of players wearing bow ties on the field. No really.
Other than the colours used, the basic design here is actually identical to the none-more-retro home shirt – and that’s an interesting fact because this feels substantially more modern and cutting edge than the all-white affair. The 1871 ‘deconstructed collar’ and embossed badge patch don’t seem quite so old school when the St George’s cross motif is given such prominence (eagle-eyed readers will remember this graphic was actually embossed onto the front of the home shirt, too, in tonal, ultra-subtle style).
It’s great how this shirt takes the recipe of the home design and mixes it up to produce something that feels totally different. We’ve enjoyed Canterbury’s dalliance with red change shirts in the last few years, but the return of midnight blue just feels right – it’s what an England alternate jersey should be.