The announcement of Leinster’s five-year partnership with Adidas last season has created a huge amount of anticipation and excitement both inside and outside the province – after all, after such a long time with Canterbury, it’s intriguing to see what another company would do with the Leinster jersey.
The results have finally been revealed, in the shape of the brand new 2018/19 home and away jerseys, and unsurprisingly for Adidas designs, both shirts are unapologetically modern, bold and different.
The theme of both home and away jerseys this year is rooted in the history of the province of Leinster, and Laighean – its ancient Irish name. Laighean has a dual meaning – as well as being the ancient Irish name for Leinster, its also the name given to the green, broad-headed spear that the warriors of the province were famed for their expertise at throwing.
The intricate pattern sublimated into the body of the shirt is designed to represent a deluge of spearheads raining down on the enemies of the Laighean.
Other than that, things have been kept very straightforward. The famous Adidas stripes are rendered in complimentary blue, and there’s no room for any of the traditional Leinster gold either – all the badges and logos are white.
The absence of gold and darker blue will no doubt annoy fans of a more traditional look, but Adidas were always going to try something different with Leinster, and it was always likely to be bold enough to draw a distinction with the past.
The away shirt is another bold and modern design – and one that’s unlike anything we’ve seen from a Leinster change shirt in the past – but one that has strong ties to the history of the province.
The colours of the shirt are the first direct link – the dark green and gold are a nod to the flag of the province of Leinster (okay, so the Leinster flag’s green isn’t this camo-esque shade, but they’re allowed a bit of license we guess).
The pattern of the jersey is also tied into the province, as the graphic represents the 12 counties of Leinster – literally demonstrating how the team are representing the whole province on the road.
To tie things into the historical element of the home jersey, the outlines of each province on the shirt is created using loads of tiny little arrowheads. The whole ‘territory’ thing was done to death by Adidas last season, so at least this feels a bit different.
Adidas was always going to do things very differently to Canterbury, and these two debut designs for Leinster are a case in point. Canterbury did some interesting and cool things, but they kept things rooted in Leinster’s heritage.
Adidas is showing straight from the off that they are going to take Leinster in a very non-traditional direction, and these jerseys are certainly a promising first step from the brand. We’re intrigued to see where they go from here, but the 2018/19 shirts feel like a stop on the way as opposed to a final destination.