The Sunwolves have rapidly become one of the most fun things about Super Rugby – not so much for their play on the field, but more because the collision of top flight Southern Hemisphere rugby and the eccentricity of Japanese culture has been, frankly, brilliant.
And this capacity for batshit insane brilliance clearly carried over to the team’s inaugural jerseys – which were frankly some of the most brilliantly original and totally off-the-wall designs of last season. So when the Sunwolves revealed what they were wearing in 2017, we couldn’t help but be a little, well underwhelmed? Have the Sunwolves gone all demure and respectable.
Well, firstly, no. Don’t worry, as the launch video for the new jerseys clearly proves – the Sunwolves are still as wonderfully eccentric as they ever were, but there’s no doubt that these new jerseys feels a bit more grown up.
The new shirt has a theme, however – emphasising the ‘sun’ part of the Sunwolves name by quite literally representing a large red sun on a white background, with the curvature of the sun just hinted at the bottom of the jersey and at the top of the sleeves. It all has the effect of a stylised take on the Japanese flag.
Conversely, the away jersey is a nod to the ‘wolves’ part of the Sunwolves name – the white circle against a black background representing the full moon, which as anyone knows, is your average wolf’s prime howling recipient.
Other than that it’s all very clean, very classy, with some nice subtle piping around the 360º Loop neckline and up the side panels, and well… that’s about it.
Okay, so these shirts probably aren’t going to cause a massive stir like last year’s insanity wolf designs did – but how were Canterbury’s designers ever going to top that anyway? Instead, they’ve gone down the route of clean, deeply symbolic designs that also put the ‘Japan’ firmly back at the heart of the Sunwolves identity.
But if you want to really complete the look, you’ll have to sort out your own weird anthropomorphic wolf head…