Rugby World Cup 2021 (Playing In 2022) isn’t just the most unavoidably tricky mouthful of an international rugby tournament the world has ever seen, it’s also on track to be the biggest and most high profile women’s Rugby World Cup ever.
It’s also a rare opportunity for all of the world’s best women’s teams to showcase their jerseys in one place – some countries have made the most of this, and others… well they haven’t. Something that’s even more disappointing given that unions and manufacturers have had an extra year to create something bespoke.
Let’s check them all out anyway.
Points off Asics for relegating the Wallaroos to the 2019 template for their jerseys, but at least it makes the home shirt feel different from the equally clean and classic men’s versions. Top marks for the alternate/indigenous jersey however, which has its own bespoke indigenous artwork on the bottom.
In what will become a theme, the Canadian women are wearing a tweaked version of the design that the men and women have been wearing in both 7s and 15s for a couple of years now. The good news is that it’s at least a very nice design, with cool maple leaf pattern on the shoulders.
The Red Roses are the most dominant and successful international team to ever take a rugby field and as befits a union that sets the standard for how it treats its women’s elite players, the RFU have got Umbro to create a bespoke jersey for them for the last two years.
This one will carry on being worn for the rest of the year, but the George Cross motif across the shoulders looks like it was designed for that World Cup crest on the right, doesn’t it?
The Fijiana are the great unknowns of this tournament, having played less than 20 tests in the last two decades and having qualified from out of nowhere at the expense of Samoa last year. We’ve seen the men wear this shirt before of course, but it’s so damn awesome we can let it slide.
France will have to shake off the upheaval behind the scenes and a fiendishly tough group to make it deep into the tournament, but they’ll do it in this lovely bespoke kit from Le Coq Sportif, complete with lovely double chevron on the chest and an interesting squared off v-collar.
Italy have beaten both France and Wales this year, so will be looking to cause some upsets in a very open Pool B. They’re wearing a jersey that’s identical to the new men’s design, complete with roman gladiator helmets embossed onto the body.
Japan’s 2019 Rugby World Cup jersey is one of the all-time great modern kits… we said as much at the time. However, two World Cups and every match in between feels like a bit of a stretch for one design, even one as good as this.
The hosts are a great unknown in this tournament – was the humiliating autumn of 2021 evidence of an insurmountable gap between the Black Ferns and the two European powerhouses, or will the changes made behind the scenes enable them to defend their title? Whatever happens, they’ll be doing it in this sleek and lovely bespoke jersey from Adidas.
Scotland will be wearing a World Cup-ified version of the new men’s and women’s 15s kit that was launched last month, and it is a very lovely design indeed, with sky blue accents and a proper collar, it’s one of the nicest kits at RWC2021(2).
SA Rugby will switch to Nike at the end of the 2022/23 season so it’s perhaps no surprise to see that Asics haven’t pulled out the stops for this kit. It is however, a shirt that the Boks have been wearing in one form or another since 2019, and it wasn’t even a classic to begin with.
It’s the USA’s first major tournament since upstarts Castore took over their kit deal, and this is certainly an interesting number – with varied types of stars and stripes decking the kit out in all sorts of leftfield places, it’s a very unique design.
Wales’ World Cup kit is ostensibly a tweaked version of the design that both men’s and women’s teams will be wearing for a second straight year, but that in itself is a bit strange. In this year’s Six Nations Wales wore a version of this shirt with an old-school collar that was unique to them (and MUCH nicer than the original).
No explanation was ever given for this, but we expected it was because the collar design looked to have been borrowed directly from the men’s shirt without any alteration and as such looked oversized and uncomfortable. This 2023 design looks to have rectified that somewhat, but we miss the old shirt!