The recent uncertainty around the future of Australian apparel manufacturer BLK has created opportunities for other brands to swoop in to increase their presence, and Canterbury’s South African arm has been perhaps the most notable beneficiary.
Last season CCC had just one team in South Africa, but this year they’re supplying three of the six Super Rugby franchises, the most high profile of which has been them taking on the Sharks contract from BLK.
BLK did some really cool stuff with the Sharks kits during their three years with the Natal franchise, but CCC has got things started in a bold, confident manner that’s hard not to like.
So we have the traditional black sharks shirt, interestingly shorn of the white secondary colour (they’ve saved that for the away jerseys), but rather than a plain black shirt, we have an interesting tonal sublimated ‘mandala’ design on the bottom half of the design.
This circular design tells a story that aims to reflect not just the history of Natal rugby, but also of their home city of Durban. So, closer inspection of the design reveals everything from the iconic Zulu warrior shields, to depictions of the brightly coloured rickshaws that line the city’s streets.
The ocean is a key part of Durban city life, and this is also reflected in the shirt, with the boards that thousands of surfers use to conquer the city’s waves depicted, as of course, are the sharks themselves.
Slightly annoyingly, Canterbury in SA has opted to create a replica shirt that’s not quite a replica. Rather than use the 360° Loop collar that the on-field version of these jerseys has, they’ve opted for the less fancy old-school Loop. It’s not a deal-breaker, but it is a bit annoying, particularly for collectors.
Still, this is a super cool design – it’s a bold opening statement for Canterbury as they look to play an increasingly significant part in Super Rugby.