Major League Rugby is going from strength to strength, and with the 2021 edition of North America’s premier professional rugby competition attracting a whole crop of bona fide international players that you’ve heard of – from Adam-Ashley Cooper, Chris Robshaw and Joaquin Tuculet to Matt Giteau, DTH Van Der Merwe and er… Dougie Fife.
As the league’s profile builds, so do the identities of the teams involved, and there’s no more important part of that identity than of course, the jersey – but who has nailed it for 2021, and who has got some serious work to do? Let’s take a look at every single jersey in the comp, from worst to best…
Editor’s Note: The Dallas Jackals won’t be playing in 2021 but as their jerseys have already been revealed, we decided to include them in our round-up.
NOLA Gold Away
Nothing says ‘Mardi Gras’ like a jersey that looks like you’ve thrown up on yourself after a hard night of partying on Bourbon Street.
DC Old Glory Away
We get it, DC is the heart of American democracy and all that, but this isn’t a national team jersey, so why do you need to lean so hard into the ‘Murica of it all?
Houston SaberCats Home
Okay so the tonal cross thing is mildly more interesting than a plain black shirt, and it’s less offensive than the designs below it but… eh.
Rugby ATL Away
The wavy pattern makes us feel a bit sick, and other than that it’s very plain.
AG Rugby Away
If Old Glory don’t get to claim the whole of the USA for themselves then Austin sure as shit don’t get to claim Texas when there are two other teams from the state in the comp. Especially when that Texasification of the shirt makes it look so cluttered as a result.
DC Old Glory Home
The blue makes the Murica-ness of this shirt feel slightly less guache, but honestly it still feels like the sort of thing you’d see someone wearing at a gun show.
SD Legion Home
The sublimated helmet is fine, but otherwise it’s pretty boring – the Adidas style collar is something though?
RU New York Away
We really want to like the ‘hoops made up of a New York word cloud’ thing but ultimately it just looks very busy and ugly.
NOLA Gold Home
Don’t ask us to explain why a shirt where it looks like you were sick over everything BUT the front looks better than the one where it was just down the front but it does.
SD Legion Home
The grey is at least a little more interesting than the black we suppose?
Seattle Seawolves Away
The Seattle skyline thing is a bit cliched AND looks rubbish, and the colour is just a bit much – could they not try a little harder next time?
Dallas Jackals Away
There’s something very off the peg about this hexagon fade design, but we really like the combination of teal and white – it feels fun and unique.
RU New York Home
The herringbone pattern is interesting and very New York, but other than that, this one feels a little phoned in.
Rugby ATL Home
The grey to black fade here is actually really nice, and offsets the wiggly pattern somewhat.
AG Rugby Home
Yeah it’s trying a little too hard to be UT and that’s kinda lame, all our reservations for the away kit apply here… but burnt orange is a whole mood.
New England Free Jacks Away
Something of a going down the yacht club vibe to this, but a proper collar is always welcome, and it’s a very classy design.
Seattle Seawolves Home
A case of familiarity breeding a little contempt with this one – the smaller font choice for the name hoops also works a lot better than on RUNY.
Dallas Jackals Home
What’s even better than white and teal? Well apparently it’s black and teal…
LA Giltinis Home
Rugby’s most ridiculously named club keep things simple and classy for their first home shirt – the blend of neon pink and blue with the white is very nice though.
Utah Warriors Home
We like the topographic design depicting Utah’s mountain ranges, we like the Brumbies-style four bars across the chest… one of the most unique designs in MLR.
Houston Sabercats Away
Houston’s home shirt might be dull, but we really like this black and gold design, that incorporates the sponsor in a tasteful way and looks classy with it.
Toronto Arrows Home
Another nicely boxed sponsor, but the addition of a classic collar, and that wonderful blue and white colour scheme really elevate this shirt.
LA Giltinis Away
Now this is more like the LA we know – like it or hate it, that logo is wonderfully distinctive and effective, and putting it front and centre like this, with the use of pink and black as it is, is a superb choice.
Utah Warriors Away
Somehow this tops the home shirt’s topographic map with actual mountains, and the use of red and black here really makes this shirt stand out. Further proof that most of the teams with boring black/dark blue home shirts in MLR should have the confidence to make their colourful change shirts the primary and stop worrying about it.
New England Free Jacks Home
Again this feels a tad nautical, but it’s really hard not to love those red and white bars, especially with the classic collar.
Toronto Arrows Away
The only thing wrong with this shirt is that it’s not Toronto’s primary look – why would you not want to see these stunning reverse-chevron hoops every week!?