Namibia consistently punch above their weight on the international scene – despite having very few players who are anything approaching household names (especially now that Jacques Burger has retired) they have qualified for every Rugby World Cup since 1999, and look to do so again for 2019.
It’s often the case that companies only take note of smaller teams and their kits at World Cup time, but refreshingly, Canterbury has continued its relationship with the Namibian Rugby Union that they entered at the 2015 World Cup, creating this shirt for them to wear when they take part in South Africa’s Currie Cup competition (but not in full internationals).
And you have to say, Canterbury has let loose somewhat in contrast to the cool but a tad unmemorable jerseys that the firm created for the World Cup. Gone are the tonal pinstripes and predictable side panels – hello something much more unique.
The classic royal blue jersey is present and correct of course, but this time it has a very fading honeycomb pattern that gets larger as it moves up the body of the jersey and then shrinks down as it goes onto the sleeves.
The most striking feature of the jersey however is diagonal white panel that runs across the chest, slashing down from right to left and is completely unlike anything we’ve seen Canterbury do before.
It’s… interesting – we’re not entirely sure if it works, and truth be told it has a bit of the early-2000s kit about it with all its heavy sublimation and the asymmetrical patterns, but it’s not ugly for it.
We were very critical of the Namibian RWC2015 replica jerseys for looking almost nothing like the on-field designs, and it’s pleasing to see that they got the message this time around – these are much closer.
However, as is a unique quirk of Namibian rugby shirts, the badge on the supporter’s top is different to the on-field one. That’s because only players who represent Namibia are allowed to wear the African fish eagle badge – supporters’ shirts have a welwitschia on it instead.
That asides, it’s nice to see Canterbury continue to make the effort with a smaller nation between World Cups – even if the results are a little eccentric…