Things have not been going according to plan this season for Gloucester Rugby – or the Choke-o-matic 9000 as you may know them better as if you listen to the Blood & Mud Podcast – and with that in mind, the Cherry & Whites are probably rather looking forward to the change of pace that the Challenge Cup provides. It won’t just be a change of pace either, but a change of look… and what a look.
Last season’s XBlades Euro shirt was, let’s not mince words here, a dog’s breakfast – it was the turd in the trifle of what was a pretty decent first group of shirts… but clearly they’ve sought to make amends this year, and in some style. But as undeniably gorgeous as this hooped jersey is, it doesn’t exactly scream ‘Gloucester’ does it? Well… think again.
The purpose of this new shirt is, as the specially tweaked club crest indicates, to celebrate 125 years of Gloucester at their famous Kingsholm ground, and to do that, they’ve looked back deep into the history of the club to design a shirt that’s deeply appropriate for the occasion.
Like many clubs, Gloucester went through many different kit combinations before settling on their famous cherry and white hoops (which legend states were borrowed from Painswick RFC), including dark blue shirts, and indeed some shirts that the club membership card of 1885 describes as ‘red, yellow and black jersey and stockings with dark blue knickerbockers’.
Colour photographs weren’t exactly commonplace in those days, so exactly what colour jerseys Gloucester were wearing in 1891 when they first moved to Kingsholm, though black and white photos of that season show the team wearing hooped shirts with three different shades – whether they were red, yellow and black or something else, we don’t know, but it seems likely.
And honestly, when the shirts look this good, do we care? The answer, frankly, is that we couldn’t give a tinkers. This is an absolutely gorgeous shirt – the thicker black hoop and two thinner red and yellow hoops are so unusual, so distinctive… it’s one of the most memorably lovely jerseys of the season.
One note of housekeeping however – as with this year’s Gloucester away shirt, we don’t have tidy images of the on-field version of this shirt, and it differs from the supporter’s version here in one crucial way. The players’ shirt will have a low-profile stub collar, as opposed to the lovely old-school one here – a pity, but not enough to change our view that this is one of the nicest jerseys we’ve seen this season.