Argentina are the last bastion of Nike’s presence in test rugby, and that’s a damn shame, because as we’ve reiterated on so many occasions now, their designers are some of the best in the business. The rest of rugby’s loss has been Argentina’s gain, however – over the last few years the Oregon giant has produced some utterly stunning jerseysfor Los Pumas, with the Gold Award seemingly a given.
Part of what’s made Nike’s Argentina home shirts so crowd-pleasingly lovely over the last few seasons is realising exactly what they have in the Pumas recipe.
Simply put, the blue and white hoops are among the most beautiful and iconic looks in test rugby, and Nike have sensibly let that be the defining feature of the design – and this year’s might be the most pure version of it yet.
So, gone are the tonal radiating circles of the previous design, replaces with just those classic blue and white hoops, with a simple round-necked collar design.
For the first time in the last few years, however, that theme is carried on throughout the jersey, with the sleeves sporting hoops instead of a solid colour.
This is perhaps the most simple and classic take on the Pumas recipe that we’ve seen under Nike yet, and that’s always good to see for an international jersey.
But at the same time it doesn’t feel entirely retro either – Nike are masters at walking the tightrope and ensuring that it still feels super contemporary at the same time.
If classic vibes are the order of the day with the home shirt, then clean, restrained modern simplicity is the aim of the alternate design – and what a design it is, too.
This is simply a plain dark blue design with no ornamentation on it beyond the distinctive Nike grip panels across the chest and on the sleeves.
We also have colour-coordinated badges and sponsor logos, and a new UAR motif on the back of the neck – a lovely touch that just makes everything hang together so nicely.
So it’s plain, simple, uneventful… and absolutely, unequivocally one of the most beautiful jersey designs we’ve seen this season.
We spend thousands of words writing about clever things that kit designers do with their shirts, but sometimes something is inherently gorgeous without any real need to explain why or over-think matters.
You might think we just hand out Gold Awards to Argentina shirts like Smarties, but we honestly don’t. Nike just keeps producing gorgeous designs that we honestly can’t find any fault with – sublime fusions of classic and modern that simply don’t have anything in them that’s superfluous or unnecessary. You know what’s coming…