It’s the most wonderful time of the year, so the song goes, and somehow despite the whole Christmas jumper thing feeling like a relic of a simpler pre-pandemic times, it seems like rugby union has not got the message, and in fact, clubs and unions across the world are still bang into it, and while they refuse to admit defeat on this, reader, neither can I.
Nope, we’re riding this sleigh until its wheels fall off. Do sleighs have wheels? Probably not, anyway… it’s also not entirely true that the rugby world is still into the Christmas jumper thing. The Southern Hemisphere seems to have rejected the concept outright, as does Scotland and Ireland. England and France though? They bloody love it. So anyway, here’s a run-down of the good, the bad and the broadly ugly Rugby Christmas jumpers of 2022.
Fair play to England, this is objectively not bad – it’s subtle in the way it just has little rugby balls on the sleeve pattern, and of course the red rose, but if you wanted a ‘looks like a normal ugly Christmas jumper from a distance’ type affair, this could work very well. Wonder if Eddie Jones has got one that’s presumably going to be unused now?
British & Irish Lions
There’s nothing that says ‘I am heavily invested in the concept of the Lions’ like wearing a Lions Christmas jumper a full year after the most miserable Lions tour since 2005 and three years before you’ll have any opportunity to wash the bad taste away. Still, it’s another very subtle jumper, and the red, blue, white and green palette of the Lions is nothing if not festive.
One of the more individual jumpers we’ve seen this season, Bath’s Christmas jumper goes HARD on the Bath branding with a club crest proudly displayed in the middle with some nice festive yellow and white accents – not sure why yellow has come to play here, but it looks nice?
The Bears like to go their own way in most aspects and this Christmas jumper is no exception – no club crest here, just a big honkin’ wordmark and some prancing reindeer. We think they should be polar bears but maybe we’re weird.
Gloucester are OGs when it comes to Christmas jumpers, and so it’s no surprise to see them going for something individual (even if we suspect it has come from the ‘stick your logo on this design’ school of individuality). Still, it’s a nice effort with Santa and his reindeer given pride of place at the top.
They might not have a coaching team for much longer but by god Leicester have got a well designed Christmas jumper – the red, green and white colourscheme of the club helps of course, but this is a nicely individual effort.
A lovely individual effort from the Falcons, throwing back to the old Gosforth colours to spread a bit of festive cheer with this lovely design – top mars for ‘FALCONS’ on the back too.
Is this the real reason Dan Biggar left? I have a lot of time for individual Christmas jerseys, but I draw the line at depicting our lord and saviour Father Christmas wearing aviators and the black gloves of a serial strangler. Disrespectful if anything.
Like everything else Saracens does, this is unapologetic, ruthlessly efficient and hard for the neutrals to love – it’s easy to forget the dicey nature of Saracens name/crest until the moment it’s slapped on the front of an ugly jumper like that hey?
Our lone URC and Welsh representative has at least really gone all out – a nice design with plenty of both Christmas and Ospreys flourishes, but that colour palette isn’t exactly festive is it?
We’re heading to France now and, look, this is quite a unique design even if it strikes me as something of a Gloucester-style ‘Your Club Here’ type thing, but mainly let’s all enjoy how happy Baptiste Serin is wearing it – bet he’s up at 5am on Christmas morning, the loveable little scamp.
Classy and understated aren’t the words we’d usually associate with a Christmas jumper, but it’s absolutely typical of the kings of aesthetic class Toulouse to produce just such a design for their festive pullover.
Look I’ve got no idea who that elephant is, but he looks almost psychotically pumped to give you your Christmas presents – I would accept them with thanks if I were you.
Look, I haven’t just saved the best Christmas jumper for last, this might be the greatest item of clothing the world has ever seen. Because of course, when you ask Stade Francais to do a Christmas jumper, the result is going to be an absolutely bonkers pink and blue affair starring the club’s feline mascot, Rucky, who I believe to be some sort of leaopard.
And if that was all the jersey had to offer, it would still be the best thing here, but just look at the fucking back of it! It comes with a PINK FLUFFY TAIL. Forget everything else, all I want for Christmas is Rucky de Noel and his pink fluffy tail – and so do you.