The 2016/17 season was one of incredible hardship and tragedy for Munster rugby, and so it’s rather fitting that the motto of the province, ‘Forti et Fideli nihil difficile’ is prominently displayed on the sleeve cuffs of their brand new 2017/18 away shirt.
The motto translates as, ‘To the brave and faithful, nothing is impossible’, and with the bravery and faith that Munster’s players, fans and coaches showed after the traumatic events of last year, you wouldn’t bet against them pulling off some unlikely feats on the field this season either.
The choice to prominently display the motto on this latest eye-grabbing jersey from Adidas is very fitting, too – it was originally the motto of the MacCarthy clan, who ruled the province of Munster in the middle ages.
What has that got to do with this shirt? Well, this jersey’s dark grey colour and striking graphic on the front is inspired by the battle armour of the old kings of Munster, so it all ties together very nicely.
We know what you’re thinking – oh god not more chainmail, we know you hate that. And it’s true, we do hate the tackiness of a chainmail effect on a rugby shirt, but this is something a little bit more abstract, and it kinda works.
The pattern on the front of the jersey itself is actually designed to give the effect of an old tapestry, and if you look closely, you’ll see that this pattern has a subtle antler motif running through it – a nod to the stag on the Munster crest.
We think it actually works really well – we love the colour, and the pattern on the front is abstract enough that whatever it is or isn’t doesn’t really matter – it just looks kinda cool.
Also of note on this shirt is the first appearance of Adidas’ new ergonomic collar design on a non-international shirt. The low-profile, comfort-focused design debuted on the All Blacks shirt last year, and we’ve since seen the Maori and France 7s use it – but this is the first time we’ve seen it on a domestic shirt.
Everything trickles down from the All Blacks with Adidas, and so we expect to see this design replicated across all of Adidas’s teams over the next 12 months.
We appreciate that like so many of Adidas’ ultra-modern designs, this won’t be to everyone’s taste, but for those of us who appreciate things that are a bit outside the norms, this is a very cool, abstract design.