The British & Irish Lions 2021 Pro jersey is one of the most hotly anticipated new rugby shirt launches of the season, and the new design is without doubt the most unconventional and striking Lions jersey ever.
From a distance all seems pretty normal and classic, with the iconic red jersey scented with an all new low profile white collar and the presence of new sponsor Vodafone on the front.
But closer inspection reveals something very much out of the ordinary on the shoulders and sleeves, where each side features a large geometric lion head graphic – the first time a lion has ever actually appeared on a Lions shirt.
The shard graphic itself is designed to reflect the way that the four nations, the myriad diverse players and everyone who has supported them along the way combine to form the Lions team, and by extension the various shards combining to make the lion head.
It’s not your daddy’s Lions shirt that’s for sure, and that’s also reflected in the collar, which is an entirely new design for Canterbury, with a partial stub design blending into a basic t-shirt collar at the front.
Other than that in terms of notable details, we also get some subtle white trim on the sleeves and lower hem of the design, and that’s about it.
It is a shame to see the traditional tour name scroll beneath the Lions crest once again replaced with the generic ‘Since 1888’ legend as it was in 2017, and the Vodafone logo seems large compared to previous sponsors in a way that’s perhaps unavoidable but it’s not as bad as it could be.
But it still feels every inch the Lions jersey, and despite rumours and conjecture beforehand, it will be the only one – there’s no alternate jersey this time around. It’s also made of 100% recycled plastic, which also makes it one of the most environmentally friendly jerseys the Lions have had too. Nice.