With the World Cup in the rear view mirror, for many of us the quick hop back into European competition provides a welcome salve for those starved of properly high-stakes rugby.
For those of us who enjoy the sartorial aspects of rugby, the Heineken Cup and Challenge Cup offers us a cornucopia of European-specific jerseys to enjoy. Let’s take a look at the runners and riders…
Heineken Champions Cup
Bath are sticking to their long-establish policy of wearing black shirts in Europe for this season, with their first new Cup shirt in two years, which was launched back in August.
Like their lovely new yellow away shirt for this season, this shirt has a pair of white and blue hoops on the sleeves, and a two-colour collar.
Benetton are tipping a hat to the fashion brand that gives the Italian club its name for their 2019/20 European jersey.
As a result, the bottom of the jersey has gone full ‘United Colours’ with a variety of multi-coloured diamonds across the front.
ASM Clermont Auvergne
Clermont decided a few years back that rather than playing in white in Europe, as had become tradition, the club would instead wear a dark jersey as their primary option… something we still really don’t like.
Still, it’s better when they wear a shirt that’s dark blue instead of the black jerseys they experimented with at one point, and the tonal checkerboard pattern on the shoulders is a nice touch.
Connacht return to the Heineken Cup with a striking new Euro jersey that blends a dark blue base with some faded green on the front and diagonal pinstripes.
It’s all accented with some lime green accents, and pseuds will also notice the club’s brand new overhauled crest on the front.
La Rochelle are sporting their rather fetching all-gold alternate look as the primary jersey for their Heineken Champions Cup campaign this season.
The shirt has an interesting ‘wave’ pattern around the sleeves, and a very nice solid black stripe running across the chest.
Leinster fans were not universally impressed with Adidas’ decision to make last season’s European jersey a slightly washed out shade of dark blue, and so perhaps it’s no surprise that they’ve gone for something more traditional this year.
With a classic Leinster blue, with a smoky modern graphic that runs all over the jersey front and back.
Lyon generally wear black at home in the Top 14, where they currently sit top of the table, but the club is wearing their red alternate shirt as the primary option in the Champions Cup.
The jersey is accented with black and a regrettable ‘scale’ graphic on the front and down the shorts.
Montpellier have generally worn black and gold jerseys in Europe over the last few years, but for 2019/20, they’ve opted for something that’s quite a departure.
Instead the MHR Euro jersey for this season is orange – the first time that the French club has ever worn a shirt of that colour.
Munster are sticking with the same European jersey that they wore last season for 2019/20, as they tend to work on a two-year cycle for designs.
The shirt itself is the classic Munster red with dar blue accents and a pattern designed to reflect the seats of Thomond Park.
The Ospreys return to the Heineken Champions Cup this season wearing their first new European shirt for two years, and one of the more straight-up ugly designs in the competition this year.
A mess of curved lines, weird shapes, heathered patterns and random bits of blue, grey, yellow and black, it’s… well it’s absolutely hideous.
Sale are back in the Champions Cup in 2019/20, and they’ve created a bespoke kit for the competition this season.
The jersey is white with a very modern blue and purple geometric pattern that runs across the bottom of the design.
Toulouse tend to play in red in Europe, and so it is for the new season, when the four-time winners will be looking to add an extra star to their crest.
The shirt is nigh-on identical to the to the home and away designs, with hatched tonal hoops that run across the front of the design.
Union Bordeaux Bègles
Canterbury’s only team in the Top 14 have consistently had some of the best jerseys in France, and this European shirt is no different.
The dark blue base jersey has some really lovely maroon bands across the front, accented with white pinstripes – the nicest Euro shirt this season?
The Bears returned to Europe last season with an all-black number that was clean if not exactly revolutionary.
This year, however… well it’s a bit different isn’t it? Dark blue with a striking ‘smoky bear’ graphic plastered across the front, it’s certainly memorable!
The Blues’ grey and blue European shirt of last season caused more controversy than anyone expected when it clashed with basically every other team in the group, most notably Glasgow.
This all-grey example hopefully won’t cause so many kit class problems as last year, and looks a bit better, too.
Worcester’s Cup jersey for 2019/20 is also being worn in Europe, and it’s certainly not the most traditional jersey we’ve seen.
With a teal and orange blocky ‘digital’ graphic that runs across the shoulders and down the ribcage, it’s certainly a bit different.