Test jerseys are not always the easiest designs for apparel brands to have fun with – after all, you go too far outside the norm and it’ll be pitchforks and hate mobs on social media before you know it.
It’s through that prism that we probably need to examine the new England Rugby World Cup 2019 home shirt – yes it’s extremely clean and simple compared to some other jerseys out there, but that’s something of a theme at this World Cup, and also probably more crowd pleasing as a result.
That’s not to say that this shirt is devoid of interesting details, however – the collar is Canterbury’s new V-shaped wrapover design, and is in fact a half and half affair with one covered in a strikingly modern pattern, that’s also repeated on the sleeve cuffs and around the bottom of the jersey.
The design itself is on closer inspection, a series of St George Crosses arranged into a strikingly abstract pattern – it’s suitably patriotic without being mega on the nose.
Other than that, however, it’s undeniably a very, very clean and simple design, and it’s a good job it has the collar, sleeve and trim ornamentation, or it would be a bit too plain.
As it is, it’s a tad underwhelming and unexciting compared to some at this World Cup, but still perfectly decent.
And then there’s the change shirt. Canterbury have tried various different colour combos for England alternate shirts over the last six years, but red is the one they regrettably keep coming back to.
England always look weird in red – much more so than a team normally does in its change shirt – and when you add in a red marl effect with blue shoulders and sleeves… well…
Without wishing to be too harsh, we really don’t know what the thinking was behind this design, as it seems to smash together so many clashing design choices – the marl, the textures blue section, the random white bits, the red collar… it’s just a bit of a mess.
And if that mess came together to make something that looked kinda cool, well we could forgive it, but instead we have something that looks like a teamwear training jersey, and that just ain’t where it’s at.
Canterbury have a template that really works in some cases at this World Cup – Japan for example, and the USA and Canada. But when it doesn’t work – as in the case of this England change shirt, or indeed the Ireland alternate – it really does look ugly.
It’s a shame that Canterbury has swung and missed with one of its most high-profile jerseys at this tournament, but at least the home shirt’s good!
Check out all the new RWC2019 jerseys in our full round-up here.