The New South Wales Waratahs have been a byword for consistency and success over the last 10 years, even breaking the Kiwi hegemony to bag their first Super Rugby title in 2014… but things really didn’t go to plan last year, with the Tahs finishing a lowly 16th in the Super Rugby standings. Even in the Australian conference, the Waratahs found themselves looking down at just the lowly Rebels, and in 2018, they’ll be looking to get back to where they feel they ought to be.
With that in mind, it’s perhaps not surprising that the Tahs have opted to return to a more classic look for 2018 after breaking with tradition somewhat last season with its bold blocky designs.
So instead we have a classic sky blue base shirt with minimal ornamentation, plus a navy blue collar – this time rendered in the new 2018 Loop style that we’ve seen on most Canterbury designs this year.
It’s not totally plain and clean, however – the Waratahs’ crest is sublimated tonally on the back of the jersey just like on last season’s home shirt, while the front has the same pattern embossed onto it in the style of the classic 2015 shirt.
All in all then, this isn’t strictly a new design, but more of a classic fusion of a variety of elements of Waratahs shirts passim – but in a way that doesn’t feel totally samey.
Which isn’t something that we can say about the new away shirt. Yes, you might be getting a sense of deja vu here, because in essence the 2018 change design is identical to what they were wearing last year, right down to the blocky motif.
It’s not totally the same – the new collar means that the way the red section of the design used to be restricted to the Loop neckline at the top of the shoulders has changed. With the new jersey template, it now fills up most of the shoulder area – and not in the best way.
Combined with such a busy bottom half of the jersey, the extra large red bit just serves to make it look a bit messy compared to Canterbury’s usually clean and classy designs.
These shirts feel like they’re caught between worlds in a way – the home shirt is perfectly nice if a little samey, while the away just feels like two different concepts smashed together. We expect a bit better from Canterbury to be honest, and here’s hoping they can sort it out for next season.