To say that we love the British & Irish Lions is an understatement – we think it might be one of the best things in rugby full stop – and in truth we’ve been counting down the days until the Lions head to New Zealand since, oh, 20 seconds after the World Cup final finished. But don’t worry friends, the wait will soon be over, and you know how we know? Canterbury has released the first official Lions 2017 training apparel – it’s happening!
Canterbury and the Lions are a great match – they’re two of the most respected and recognisable brands in all of rugby – and they clearly share a respect for the heritage and tradition of the touring side, as is plain to see in the training apparel Canterbury has produced for them.
Produced variously using Canterbury’s proprietary Vapodri, Vaposhield and Thermoreg fabrics, the new range of gear comprises pretty much everything you could want on tour – from training tees and media polos, to rain coats, fleeces, bobble hats… whatever the varied New Zealand climate can throw at them, the Lions will be well sorted.
While Canterbury has often dabbled in flouro colours and super modern patterns for training gear over the last few years, here they’ve sensibly kept things traditional, sticking firmly to the four home nations colours, but with a bit of a twist.
While you can buy gear that’s primarily red, blue, white or green depending on your national preference, it feels like the designers have sought to constantly reflect that the Lions is about more than just one country.
From contrasting colour stripes and panels, pinstriped accents on sleeve cuffs and inserts and even stitched four-colour bar tacks – the home nations colours are always there to remind us that the Lions is about four nations united, not petty parochial squabbles about team and squad selection, ahem…
Another notable thing about this training gear is in that famous home nations crest. Where in the past, the roll underneath the badge has had the name and date of the specific tour on it, now the words ‘Since 1888′ will occupy that space.
We’re a bit torn on this – we always liked the sense of occasion the tour-specific badge used to convey, but this certainly does remind you of the Lions’ long, distinguished history, and the responsibility the current players have to that heritage.
That said, there’s a bespoke ‘NZ17’ logo used in various items in the range, and those with a beady eye will also spot a tone-on-tone stitched Lion used as a further subtle flourish – it’s very cool indeed.
Canterbury has done a fine job with the Lions 2017 training gear. Giving a subtle but classy twist on the traditional is something Canterbury does better than anyone else, and they’ve done just that here, and made us even more excited for the tour jersey’s reveal next month…