The Lions tour is getting closer by the day, and with their loyalties now solely in the All Blacks camp, Adidas is free to go big in their mission to repel the famous representative side – and that means pulling for a few midweek scalps, too…
The Crusaders will take on the Lions with the option to select all of their All Blacks, so the spice and intensity of these ‘warm-up’ games should be worth watching for that reason alone… so also getting to see a gorgeous rugby shirt is a bonus!
The Crusaders’ take on the Special Edition tour jersey shares many common elements with the other four designs that Adidas has produced – so, we get a distressed map design representing the area that the Crusaders represent emblazoned across the body in striking style.
In addition we also have the geographical coordinates sleeve cuff motif on the left sleeve cuff – this time pointing us to Canterbury, of course.
Like the other special edition jerseys, the locations of the provincial rugby unions that supply players to the Crusaders, though rather than just using a flat colour like on the other designs, the crusaders have opted to represent them using the dreaded chainmail effect.
Now, you all know how we feel about chainmail, but here we think it’s such a clever little touch (and has been used in suitably restrained fashion, that we actually kinda like it.
It’s notable that this shirt breaks from the Crusaders norm in that it’s actually not that red – while this season’s Crusaders home shirt was the most black-heavy design they’ve had in many a year, this one is almost all black asides from the red and black motif on the front.
There’s a very good reason for this of course – the Lions rather famously play in red, so the Crusaders couldn’t very well wear a primarily red design to take them on, so they’ve gone mainly black instead. It’s still probably going to cause some confusion, to be honest, but it’s probably the best solution in the circumstances.
It’s going to be hard not to hand out Gold Awards like sweets working our way through all these Special Edition shirts, but the truth of the matter is they’re just all so darn nice it’s hard to not enthuse.
While all these tour shirts are similar, they have little touches that add a bit of variety and difference, and in our mind the Crusaders’ twist on the concept has that extra few percent of awesomeness that tips it into red, black and gold…