The New South Wales Waratahs have one of the most enviably lovely colour schemes of any team on the planet – light and dark blue with accents of striking scarlet is a recipe for some beautiful and classic designs over the years.
In recent seasons, however, there’s been a sense that Canterbury has been phoning things in a bit with near-identical jerseys from season to season, or common design flourishes repeated over and over again to the point where they’re ruined.
The 2019 home shirt doesn’t do a lot to dispel that notion, to be honest with you, being effectively the same jersey that the Tahs wore last year, albeit with a slightly tweaked collar.
The similarity isn’t helped by the fact that the shirt for last season was plain to the point of being a little dull, and another year looking at it hasn’t exactly helped matters.
Even the more subtle details are rehashes – the presence of the waratah flower motif on the back is a direct lift from last year, while the sublimated tonal waratah on the chest area dates all the way back to the 2015 home shirt.
This isn’t a bad looking shirt of course – it’s genuinely hard to mess up a Waratahs jersey and this is no ugly design. But it feels unbelievably phoned in compared to the work that Canterbury does for its teams in the Northern Hemisphere and South Africa, and we’re not sure why that is.
That’s a question that feels even more pressing when we consider the away jersey, which is very much a brand new design, for ill or for good.
The plain white shirt is accented with a series of stylised hoops that have so much going on inside them they pretty much need a paragraph of their own to cover.
So we have Waratahs crests in white and outlined dark blue, we have check patterns, we have light blue messy pinstripes, we have the words ‘NSW Waratahs’ periodically…
Look, to be honest it’s a bit of a kitchen sink mess and something that looks far better from a distance than it does up close, but at least they’re trying something here, y’know?
Ultimately both of these shirts have flaws that stop us from really loving them, and weirdly they have complimentary problems in a way – the home shirt has too little fresh thinking used in its design, while the away has a bit too much.
In both cases it makes these shirts hard to love, but here’s hoping they can get the balance a bit more even for 2020.