England will wear a special one-off jersey to celebrate 150 years of English rugby when they take on Scotland in the Six Nations at Twickenham on 6 February 2021.
On the 26 January 1871, representative of 21 clubs met in London’s Pall Mall Restaurant to discuss the makeup of a representative team that would be sent to answer a challenge that had been issued by their Scottish counterparts.
The resulting match would be the first ever international test match, which Scotland are commemorating in their own way this season, but that meeting would lead to the formation of the Rugby Football Union – the sport’s first governing body, which for much of its first hundred or so years also ran the sport globally, for good and for ill.
The one-off jersey is suitably old-school, with a simple round-neck collar and a front broken only by a large squared collar placket and a stylised take on the red rose that’s inspired by those old school England jerseys.
We’re not quite spared the inevitable intrusion of modern commercial considerations however – the sponsor O2 looms rather large on one sleeve and a gold Umbro logo on the left. It’s a pity that the O2 logo isn’t a little smaller and also gold – after all that’s what was done on the Nike Centenary shirt of 2010 – as it does ruin the retro vibes somewhat.
But other than that, it’s a very clean and classic design that pays fitting tribute to 150 years of test rugby, and 150 years of the RFU.