Sports

Uniformity: Power Ranking the New Super Rugby Kits

Joseph Harper power ranks the latest crop of Super Rugby uniforms.

Summer is headed to its zenith in Godzone, so it only makes sense we start yakking about rugby. And what better way to get chins wagging than a rugby fashion parade featuring the new Super Rugby uniforms.

They’re pretty yuck. They haven’t gone full HRV, but the decision to busy up our team’s jerseys year-by-year is definitely producing some Nascar results. They’re super cluttered, which to me seems bad when you’re talking about a uni. I hate to be a ‘Red Peak type’, but surely a cleaner design is a more wearable design. Players probably don’t give a crap, because they’re getting the big bucks. But this seems like a really bad way to push units to Joe Bloggs*.

Anyway, here’s my team by team rankings of the new strips:

5. ‘CANES

hurricanes

The Hurricanes have gone for a pretty rank Gaviscon motif. The ‘canes are blessed with a very nice colourway and, bully for them, it matches nicely with this season’s fab booties. But they’ve really screwed the pooch here by taking a novel two-tone approach and turning it into a Marge Simpson cocktail dress. It sucks. They don’t ever have a garish sponsor to pull focus. Crapital city.

Player Wearability: 4/10

Joe Bloggs Wearability: 1/10

Cultural Capital factor: 3/10 for the booty match

X-Factor: “Put the cake tin back in the oven ‘cos this shit is halfbaked.” – Celia Wade-Brown

4. HIGHLANDERS

highlanders

The Highlander design team have shot their rugby cannon at ‘subtle tartan’ and landed on an Animal Collective EP cover that kind of makes you feel sick you if you look at it too long. A major coup on previous ‘landers unis has been the shocking stab of Southland maroon. But this one is a full-on eff you to Tim Shadbolt and co. Which sucks especially considering their coolest player is Elliot ‘Staggy’ Dix, who bleeds Splash Palace maroon. After their Cinderella season, the Highlanders had a chance to make a bold stance here, but this weak tartan affectation is about as overcooked a pumpkin as they come.

Player Wearability: 6/10

Joe Bloggs Wearability: 7/10

Southern Pride: Severely lacking

X-Factor: Homespun Wonderdogs remake

3. CHIEFS

chiefs

Nothing screams “WAIKATO!” like a massive Gallagher logo. But aside from the excellent brand synergy, this jersey doesn’t do it for me. I feel like the Chiefs have had some of the best jerseys in the biz. But this is a bit much. I support the instinct to lean into the cultural signifiers of the Waikato, but I’m not into the graphic representation of the waharoa at Waikato Stadium. I suppose I can’t begrudge the Chiefs team for going all in. I dunno – I would definitely feel self-conscious and bad in this. Cruden looks cool though. I like how the negative space on the uni kind of mirrors his massive ears.

Player Wearability: 7/10

Joe Bloggs Wearability: 3/10

Mana Factor: 10/10

X-Factor: Brodie Retallick wearing glasses

Sex Factor: Sonny Bill will look sexy in this

2. CRUSADERS

crusaders

The greatest rugby franchise of all time is going in a buzzy direction via red shorts. Red socks is one thing (lucky) but is a champion team in red shorts really better than a team of champions not in red shorts? This looks like a soccer uniform to me. It doesn’t look that bad and I’d be keen to wear one around if the legends at Adidas saw fit to send me one (size large, please). But it’s a pretty bold move away from the blocky designs that made the likes of Con Barrel and Marika Vunibaka household names. It’s very Christchurch. Very square. And the horse is definitely a bit much. But still, a square is one helluva shape and god bless this great squad of legends**.

Player Wearability: 7/10

Joe Bloggs Wearability 6/10 (8/10 if they send me one)

Canterbury Tales factor: “People can die of mere imagination”. Which is why they went with these plain-ass unis

X-Factor: Cutout Todd Blackadder mask in the Press.

1. BLUES

blues

I mean yeah, the Blues are a shambles and it’s very easy to say the new Blues unis are embracing these Tane Mahuta elements because they play like a bunch of old-ass trees. But honestly these are the best new unis by far. I love the single shoulder detail. The cheeky gradient is the most Auckland thing I’ve ever seen. I’m not 100% on the mini-Sky Tower in there, but this is Metro magazine’s world and the Blues are just playing rugby in it – so it’s probably fine. The baby blue shorts/socks combo is sick and I love it. It’s weird to say the Blues have done something right, but this is all very good and I’m very into it. They even managed to make the world’s worst sponsor logo look not that bad!

Player Wearability: 9/10

Joe Bloggs Wearability: 8/10 (send me this also (keen to be a JAFA))

X-Factor: Jerome Kaino BBQ offer (7 RT13 fave)

Mythos Factor: Gimme hope Joeli

FOOTNOTES:

* On this subject: Why don’t they sell jerseys with numbers on them? It’s like they don’t want money.

** I’m a homer, like Bill Simmons.


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