Since the SRU and Macron teamed up back in 2013, things have changed an awful lot for Scotland on the field – the men in blue have transformed themselves from perennial also-rans to one of the most exciting teams in the world, with genuine title aspirations.
Equally, in that time Macron has grown from being a relative minnow in the rugby world to being one of the most visible names in the sport, with Italy joining the ranks this season to ensure that a third of the Six Nations teams will sport the Italian brand’s logo next year.
Perhaps its this newfound confidence that’s seen Macron tear up the script somewhat with the 2017/18 Scotland kits – getting shot of several of the design cues that we’ve become familiar with in the last four years.
For starters, the classic old-school collar that’s been a very welcome feature of all of Macron’s Scotland shirts has been replaced this year with a prominent granddad-style collar – it’s a look that still feels classic, but if we’re honest, we don’t love it as much as the old-school one.
The most notable change with this shirt to recent Macron Scotland jerseys is the use of purple. Traditionally a third colour in the SRU palette, we’ve not seen much of it in recent years, but it’s back with a bang here, with purple and white stripes on each sleeve, and around the hem of the design.
It’s certainly different, but rather than going too far, we actually think they’ve really hit on something here – Scotland jerseys can look a little bit dour and bland at times, but the splash of colour really does make this feel kinda cool.
The purple theme continues and increases on the alternate shirt – given that Macron have experimented with alternative colours to the traditional white in recent years, maybe we should count our blessings that it’s not all purple!
Instead however, we have the classic white alternate shirt, once again with purple stripes on the sleeves, paired with a dark blue stripe this time. In addition however, we also have a prominent purple panel across the chest, that continues down around the sides and over the shoulders.
It’s definitely an interesting and unusual look for a test team, but while we don’t have any complaints about the collar, we can’t help but feel that the chest yoke thing makes it look a bit too much like a training jersey.
Also, we’re not massively thrilled that the BT logo creep of last season appears to be here to stay – we have to put up with every other rugby jersey having every square inch of real estate plastered with sponsors, but surely test teams should be the last preserve of the clean, uncluttered design? We can live with one sponsor on a test shirt, and we’d like to keep it that way!
New for this season, both of these test shirts feature Macron’s ‘ARMEVO’ fabric – a material designed specifically for rugby that’s designed to be light and strong, while also offering excellent moisture-wicking properties. Clearly that’s good thing given the general climate in Scotland…
Test jerseys are hard things to innovate with, but after five years of broadly similar designs for Scotland, Macron had to try something a little different, and there’s little doubt that these new shirts feel very distinctive.
However, they also work – the home shirt balances the retro and modern nicely, while the away shirt, if a bit more Marmite, is certainly memorable and has a lovely use of colour. It’s just a shame they said goodbye to the classic collars!