There was a time when the Stormers were one of the most consistent sides in Super Rugby – with Adidas in their corner and a blue and white hooped jersey to bas everything on, chances are things were going to always turn out interesting, if nothing else.
And then Adidas and Western Province parted ways, leading to what should be known as ‘the lost year’ – the Stormers took their kits in-house, with results that alienated neutrals and fans alike. Something had to change.
And change it has – the Stormers have signed on with BLK, who previously took care of a wealth of Super Rugby teams, including the Kings and Sharks in South Africa, and while their first home shirt might not be traditional, it’s certainly interesting.
The primarily blue jersey is an unwelcome reminder of last season, though at least we do have some concession to the original hoops, with the white-to-blue fade design offering some nice contrast.
Speaking of contrast, we really like the red accents on the collar and sleeves – it really ties the whole thing together.
It’s a shame that the hoops don’t go all the way around in a more traditional style, but certainly compared to last season’s design, there’s a lot more going on here, and hopefully the sizing and quality will be improved with it.
The away shirt is a return of sorts for the Stormers – before they reverted to classic Western Province blue and white, the Stormers home shirt used to be primarily black, and so the black here continues to reference that after making a comeback last year.
The pattern on the front is certainly striking and unusual – it’s almost like a very, very abstract hoop pattern, with the bright yellow colour presumably representing lightning.
The yellow, combined with the red side panels and collar trim, also provides a subtle nod to the team’s longterm sponsor DHL – we’re not sure if it’s intentional or not, but the shades of yellow and red are nigh-on identical.
Even if it is a slightly crass attempt to keep a sponsor happy, at least it helps to keep the jersey feeling coherent, colour-wise.
The pattern actually continues on the back for the away shirt, which we like, and the shirt also makes the motif on the back of the shoulders – the outline of Cape Town’s famous Table Mountain – a bit more visible too.
While we’re not saying these shirts are classics, there’s a definite upgrade in terms of the general sense of design and care that has gone into these 2019 jerseys compared to last year. They still won’t please everyone, but they’re hopefully a stepping stone to better things in the future.