After reaching the Super Rugby final in 2013, the three seasons since the Brumbies signed up with Australian kit supplier Classic Sportswear have seen them continue to set high standards, reaching the playoffs at every time of asking, if not hitting the heights of their solitary year with BLK.
If the Brumbies have been a model of consistency and excellence under Classic in a performance sense, it’s also seen the rugby league specialists try to evolve and experiment with the Canberra franchise’s timeless home look, culminating in last year’s striking departure.
For 2017, Classic has broadly decided to return to the traditional look, although not entirely. The conventional dark blue and white design has returned, as have the varying thickness bars across the chest.
What’s different to the norm is those bars. Traditionally the third colour in the Brumbies mix has been yellow, but here Classic has opted for a deeper, almost metallic gold shade. It looks rather regal, though we wish they’d also adapted the colour of the Brumbies crest to match.
Perhaps in an attempt to emphasise this change of third colour, they’ve used it as a rather liberal trim option on pretty much every seam they could squeeze it onto – perhaps a little overkill, but it’s not bad.
The final bit of ornamentation is the side vents, where we have a slightly incongruous white-to-blue fade. There’s nothing wrong with this, per se, but we think it does look a touch out of place on such a classic-style design.
The away shirt is something of a departure compared to the last few years of Classic change jerseys, though not one that’s totally unprecedented.
One feature of Classic’s time with the Brumbies has been the use of a gold/yellow away shirt – it was certainly striking compared to the home shirt, but this year they’ve opted for a more restrained approach.
Echoing some of the old-school pre-Classic Brumbies away shirt, this design ditches the white entirely and adopts a plain blue design that’s a mirror image of the home, right down to the gold trim.
We say mirror image, but it’s not completely identical. The home shirt’s incongruous side panels feature a subtle hatched pattern, and here that hatched design is given greater prominence, adding interest to the bottom half of the jersey, front and back.
We’re sure the Brumbies faithful will appreciate the return of the franchise’s classic home look this year, though we’re not totally convinced by the switch from a brighter yellow/gold to this darker metallic shade.
It does look great on the away shirt however – without the white in the mix, the two colours work really well together.We’re unconvinced by the ugly-looking main sponsor transfer, however – particularly on the away shirt – it all looks a little tacky and rushed.
While neither of these shirts are going to go down as radically inventive or even timeless classics, they’re good solid jerseys that do something a bit different with the classic recipe, and there’s nothing wrong with that.