The Western Force have had a rough couple of years. After finishing a promising eighth over all third in the Australian Super Rugby conference in 2014, the men from Perth have been basement dwellers since – finishing above only the expansion Kings and Sunwolves in 2016’s overall ladder.
2017 very nearly dealt the Force another blow before they had even kicked a ball, with the well-publicised financial problems surrounding kit supplier BLK Australia threw into question whether they’d even have kit to start the season off with.
Thankfully, BLK is now back in the black and the three Australian Super Rugby teams they supply will all be wearing their new threads come kickoff, including this home shirt for the Force we’re looking at today.
Clean is very much the theme with BLK this season – the Reds 2017 jerseys couldn’t have been more uncluttered if they’d tried, and for the first time in their history, the Force are really embracing that vibe, too.
So gone are the detailed textures, huge sublimated patterns and coloured panels of the last few seasons, replaced with a plain blue shirt with minimal front-facing ornamentation – all we have for contrast is some black piping on the ribs, a black collar insert and a pair of slashes on each sleeve, representing the wings of the black swan on the Force crest.
It’s a super clean, almost too clean really, look – but it’s one that works, and is rendered all the more welcome when you come round the back. After criticising the constant presence of the large swan motif in jersey’s past, it at least feels fresh to have it removed this year.
Looking at the back, we’re reminded how tired that swan feels now, and while swapping it to the back at least switches it up some (we haven’t had it on the back since 2014…), we think it could do with taking a few years off full stop.
Still, it doesn’t tarnish what is still a very nice, very classy shirt – simple and elegant in its own way, the Force will be hoping it brings them better luck than they’ve enjoyed in recent seasons…