La Rochelle tore up the script in last season’s Top 14. In just their second season in the top flight, and with a tiny budget, they spent much of the season atop the table, and only fell to big-spending Toulon in the semi-finals.
It was a rather excellent first year for the club’s partnership with newly reborn French sportswear institution, Hungaria, but they go into 2017/18 with renewed expectation in all ways.
The home shirt is an interesting evolution of last season’s plain black design, with an interesting half and half dark grey/black tonal thing, complete with yellow shoulder panels that house Hungaria logos.
Hungaria doesn’t really do things like other brands, and this is no different – the half and half tonal thing isn’t something we’ve seen from anyone else, but it kinda works in a weird way.
Much more universally pleasing, however, is the away shirt – some things are just timeless classics, and as we’ve said about 18 million times in the last five years, hoops are golden, all the time.
It’s an evolution of the away shirt Canterbury created for La Rochelle when they came back to the Top 14 two seasons, ago, but instead of yellow and white hoops, we have a much nicer blend of black and white.
The black and white is of course absolutely timeless, and the way that Hungaria has decided to accent it with yellow pinstripes just makes it all the more lovely.
The only way it could look better is if those hoops had continued onto the sleeves, but given the size of the left sleeve ad, it’s perhaps better left clean.
The third jersey is the oddest of the bunch – while not confirmed yet, we imagine this is the design that Stade Rochelais will wear in their unexpected Champions Cup adventure, but it’s a peculiar design.
Like a goth’s Neapolitan ice cream, we have a bit of yellow, a bit of grey and lots of black, but it doesn’t really fit together all that well.
If the coloured segments were consistently divided up into regular sections, instead of being a bit uneven and haphazard we’d probably like this a lot more – it’s not bad, it’s just a little messy.
On the whole, however, these are three cool, individual and memorable designs for the club – time will tell if their season will turn out to be as impressive this time around…