Rugby is a sport that prides itself on its values of fraternity and cameraderie off the field, but Italian side Zebre might be taking this to another level by creating a new European jersey that celebrates the former owner of a rival club that’s also competing for the Challenge Cup.
It sounds bananas, but it’s true – the striking pink and black zebra-striped affair has been designed to pay tribute to hugely influential former Stade Francais president Max Guazzini, who masterminded Stade’s rise from the lower leagues to the top of French rugby, before leaving in 2011.
Zebre state that they wanted to celebrate the positive impact that Guazzini had on rugby on and off the field, and it’s certainly true that he pushed boundaries in rugby, not least in terms of the garish and wonderful kits that Stade began wearing in the late 90s, which have not only become a hallmark of the club, but was the primary reason why modern rugby kits are such a diverse and vibrant mix of the bold and the traditional.
In that regard, this kit, with Zebre’s stripes set against that most Stade of colours, pink, is a fitting tribute. We’re still not entirely sure why they’ve done it – Zebre’s release references the ‘Florentine heritage’ of Guazzini’s family, which seems a bit of a stretch – but hey, it’s a nice kit, who are we to argue?