Image courtesy of Munster Rugby on Twitter
The regular season of the Guinness Pro12 came to a dramatic climax this weekend with playoff places and semi-final dates to play for. While the results on the field are in the books, there’s still something left to decide – who came out on top in the kit stakes?! As ever, Rugby Shirt Watch is here to tell you…
Ulster v Leinster
Top of the table Leinster needed to win this game to see off the challenge of the chasing Munster, while Ulster had a mountain to climb to keep their narrow chances of sneaking into the top four and securing a playoff place alive.
With Ruan Pienaar a real doubt for the game, as the BBC revealed he was suffering from back spasms, sustained in the warm up before their defeat to Ospreys a week before, and Leinster having lost just once in six games after a brilliant 31-30 win over Glasgow, things were not looking hopeful for the home side.
However, with the inspirational Pienaar fit for his final game in Ulster colours, and guided his team to victory over the leaders, despite the visitors playing several of their British & Irish Lions players in the game. It wasn’t enough to secure top-four status, but it was a fitting send-off for Pienaar and the retiring Roger Wilson.
Kit wise, it was a tough call – Leinster decided not to wear their light yellow and blue away strip, opting for the clean simplicity of the home design, while Ulster were of course in their classic white and red. We think Ulster just shaded it, but tell us what you think in the comments.
Scarlets v Ospreys
Another derby and another massive clash with playoff implications. With the Scarlets assured of a semi-final place and the Ospreys almost home and dry, it was a chance for both teams to cut loose in the West Wales sun, in what was expected to be a tightly contested affair.
The Scarlets haven’t lost since March, and they demonstrated what impressive form they’re in by demolishing their neighbours by a record 40-17 scoreline, with the slumping Ospreys once again looking ill-prepared for the playoffs.
It means the Scarlets will travel to Leinster and the Ospreys face Munster with very different levels of morale. While there’s never been an away win in a Pro12 semi-final, the Scarlets will travel to Leinster without fear and in scintillating form, while the Ospreys will look to pick themselves up and head to Munster. Given the track record, it’s not surprising to see why both Welsh teams are 14/1 outsiders with Betway Sports to win the grand final, but anything can happen.
If there’s one thing that the Ospreys did win on the day, however, it’s the kit battle. Rather than opting for their away kit, sponsored by brokers OSTC FX, they chose the home shirt that shares the same BLK pattern as the retro-vibed Queensland Reds’ newest maroon number. Compared to the Scarlets dull home shirt, it’s not even close.
Munster vs Connacht
Munster arguably put in the performance of the weekend to overhaul Leinster and secure top spot in the Pro12 with a record points haul, in the process putting any hopes reigning champs Connacht had of sneaking into the Champions Cup next season, and avenging the Galway men’s victory over the men in red last season.
Kit-wise, things were much closer than the 50-14 scoreline on their field, with both teams sporting some very cool kits. Munster once again are sponsored by Adidas this season, and join Leinster in having Bank of Ireland on the front of their classic red and white jerseys.
Connacht’s classy subtle hooped number on the other hand is a far cry from some of the most controversial kits this year of which BLK has one rather garish entry. Instead the green jersey is as cool and unique as Conancht’s performance was awful.
We can’t even choose between these shirts to be honest, so it’s up to you? Whose kit is better? You decide!