Times are apparently changing over in Newport. After years of what can only be described as futility, duking it out with the Italians at the foot of the Pro12, the Dragons unveiled ambitious plans to find new owners, become fully independent, and finally shed their status as the poor relation in Welsh rugby – if Connacht can win the league, right?
Well, the 2016/17 season hasn’t exactly demonstrated a great deal of break from the status quo so far – once again the Dragons seem to be set for a season in the Pro12 doldrums, and once again they’re doing it wearing shirts provided by long-term supplier, Gilbert, with whom they’ve recently re-upped for a further three years.
This season’s home shirt, however, is at least a break from the overly-busy designs of years past, with subtle flame motifs on the shoulders and sides adding some classy ornamentation to the front. Fans will also be pleased to know this year’s replicas actually look like the shirts the players wear, in contrast to last season…
In contrast, it’s all rather busy round the back, and certainly distinctive. In addition to the flamey accents at the top and bottom we also have a thin yellow stripe enclosing the main body of the shirt – it’s a bit 90s, but it doesn’t look bad.
The back of the jersey continues its tour around all the possible design options with the inclusion of a dragon scale pattern around the shoulder blades, and also a subtle Dragons logo rendered in the same pattern on the back where the numbers will go.
The away shirt keeps up the Dragons’ now long tradition of blue away shirts, in honour of the traditional colours of the old Kingdom of Gwent, and once again the fleur de lys that featured prominently on the Kingdom’s coat of arms once again makes an appearance – this time on either shoulder.
Once again, things get a lot busier around the back, where we have the same box on the back of the shirt, but this time paired with a dark blue dragon scale pattern that runs down the sides of the design.
If there’s one thing about these two designs that can most enthusiastically bugger off, it’s the script-fonted ‘Men Of Gwent/Kingdom Of Gwent’ slogan on the back of the collars – there’s something about that font that screams ‘middle-aged bingo enthusiast’s tattoo’ and frankly, that isn’t a very happy association.
Other than that, these jerseys are both pretty nice – subtle, restrained, and on the whole a definite improvement on previous years, even if they don’t quite have the boldness of last season’s chevron’d home design.