Leinster and Canterbury have enjoyed a long and prosperous partnership over nearly two decades now, and it’s coincided with the most successful period of the province’s history, with multiple European and domestic trophies in that time.
If rumours are to be believed, however, this season will mark the end of their relationship, so this may be the final time we see Canterbury’s interpretation of a Leinster home shirt – and it’s certainly a memorable one.
The base jersey is of course a classic Leinster blue design, but interestingly the front and back of the jersey has a very unique tonal checkerboard motif, with half of the squares on the pattern sporting irregular geometric patterns that really stand out.
That’s not by accident either – the pattern is the latest iteration of Canterbury’s ‘evade’ technology, which has also been seen on the England and Ireland home jerseys, and Canterbury claims that this patterning somehow actually helps players evade tackles better.
How? Well, it might sound silly, but it’s not actually as far-fetched as it initially seems. The theory is that the distracting pattern on the jersey will unavoidably draw the eye of defenders, causing them to take their eye off the ball-carrier’s hips, which will mean they’ll be less easily able to judge which way a player is going to step, and therefore less likely to make a tackle.
Whether this actually works, well… we’ve got no idea – the proof will be in the pudding this season, we expect, but at least it’s got some basis in sense, which isn’t always the case with these kind of jersey innovations.
In addition to the evade pattern, the jersey also features the same new jersey innovations that we’ve seen on Canterbury’s latest test jerseys, including the new double-layered loop collar, which adds a welcome splash of Leinster gold to proceedings in the strengthening tape around the neck itself.
Canterbury is all about making the fans feel connected with their team, and that has kicked in to high gear this season, as evidenced by the unique numbered jersey plaque on every replica jersey on the new England shirt. It’s a trick that’s repeated here, and you can see the plaque that will bear the unique number on the bottom right hand side of the shirt.
That’s not all however, echoing the Leinster motto of ‘from the ground up’ the inside of the jersey is covered in the insignias of all the clubs and schools teams that make up the province, reminding the players who don the jersey where they’ve come from and who they’re playing for.
If this is a final take on the Leinster home shirt from Canterbury, it’s fitting that it’s a good one – a shirt that melds classic Leinster themes with something a bit different, and some eyebrow-raising modern tech, too. All in all, a great jersey.