Who’d be an All Blacks kit designer? It’s a phrase that we’ve often uttered on Rugby Shirt Watch as each new ABs kit is greeted with the usual ‘it’s just a plain black shirt’ wags who seemingly fail to understand that yeah… that’s the point.

Well, from a distance the All Blacks RWC2019 jersey might appear to be ‘just another plain black shirt’ but on closer inspection it’s actually one of the most unique jerseys at this World Cup, and indeed ever.

Designed in association with Y-3 , the collaboration label between adidas and legendary Japanese designer Yohji Yamamoto, the design brings together Japanese and New Zealand culture in a truly unique way.

Instead of another tonal pattern or graphic sublimated into the design, the jersey instead has a texture – the texture of the famous ferns of New Zealand which on the test jersey genuinely looks as though it’s almost real.

It reminds us of fossilised ferns, or indeed the pencil rubbings of leaves that you’d do as a kid in school – but with a proper three-dimensional effect.

It’s not without its issues however – on the test jerseys it’s clear that such a heavily three-dimensional pattern is a challenge to print onto, making the badges look a little crinkly – particularly the RWC decal on the sleeve – but we actually like the effect.

The change shirt is unlikely to get a run-out unless New Zealand make a point of wearing it given that France are back to a much lighter shade of blue than they have been.

And that’s not exactly the end of the world – unlike recent attempts to try some really leftfield stuff with the All Blacks change designs, this is simply a white palette swap of the home design.

These designs might not seem revolutionary from a distance, but up close there’s something truly wonderful about the RWC2019 All Blacks jerseys – they feel totally different to anything else we’ve seen before, and that’s got to be a good thing.



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