By Phil Hecken
I know as much about rugby as I do about the uniforms of the Korean Baseball League, which is to say — not a lot. But I do know this — the 2011 Rugby World Cup will be taking place way down under in New Zealand, starting on September 9, and continuing ALL the way until October 23rd. This is the seventh Rugby World Cup, a quadrennial international rugby union competition inaugurated in 1987.
My alma mater treated our Rugby team as a “club” sport (which is to say, it wasn’t a ‘recognized’ sport and got no funding), and a bunch of the guys from my fraternity played. So, back in the stone ages, I did watch a few games. I mostly enjoyed the post-game celebrations (win or lose) back at our house, where we engaged in stimulating banter while playing games like “shoot the boot.” Or at least I think I enjoyed them. The opposition was always invited back to our house, so I guess one of the tenets or credos of the game is good sportsmanship.
Anyway, I may not know much about rugby, but fortunately Caleb Borchers does — and he’s prepared a fantastic rundown of the uniforms of the participants in this year’s Rugby World Cup. We’ll tackle about half of the teams this weekend, and conclude with the final batch next weekend. So, without further ado, here’s Caleb:
The 2011 Rugby World Cup, Part I
By Caleb Borchers
First of all, a couple of notes on the tournament in general. The Rugby World Cup (RWC) is very picky, like most international tournaments, about protecting the sponsors of the event. As such, though most teams tend to have commercial sponsors on various places on the jersey, that is not the case at the RWC. As such, the jerseys have a far cleaner design than usual.
Also, you will note that I used jersey and alternate jersey to talk about the teams’ uniforms. The website, which I used extensively due to their clear photographs, tends to refer to home and away jerseys. That is a misnomer. Most teams will only wear the “away” jersey if there is a clash with the opposition jersey. This is why I have referred to them as “alternate” jerseys. A few sides (Wales and England come to mind) have begun to wear alternates in unnecessary situations for purely commercial reasons, but most other teams only wear alternates when absolutely necessary. Argentina, Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, and Ireland, for example, have only worn alternates one or twice (at most) since the last RWC.
Rugby has very few outfitters. As such two companies, Kooga and Canterbury, have the bulk of the teams. Adidas and Nike have only two each, but they have some of the more lucrative brands.
This tournament might deserve a new uni acronym: BFNZS, Black For New Zealand’s Sake. Since it is being hosted in the home of the All Blacks, everyone and their dog thinks it is just a splendid idea to wear a black alternate strip. It all looks very stupid.
Finally, this year there is one aesthetic change that effects every team. Unlike the past where the RWC patch was mostly vertical, this year the patch is horizontal. It also features a new logo, changed after years of service from this one. Both changes seem to make the patch fresher and more modern.
Argentina: Historically: Argentina’s rugby side, the Pumas, wears a jersey that more or less mimics what one expects out of the national soccer team, only with white shorts. In 2007, they continued in this traditional look and were similar in their most recent internationals. Adidas has been their outfitter for years and tends towards traditionalism with their international rugby teams.
2011: The jerseys are indeed traditional, though one might notice that through the top of the dominant stripes there is a small white line. Seems like a useless detail.
Australia: Historically: The Wallabies tend to wear some version of an yellow jersey with green shorts. In the past this has had horrible ramifications. Generally, however, they look relatively good. In ’07 the looked fine, albeit with too many bumper sticker features and shorts that were more turquoise than green. Recent outfitter Kooga has gone for a look that is mostly yellow. The Australians have a problem few teams have. They wear both a team logo and a national crest on their jersey. At the World Cup one of those is removed for the sake of the tournament patch. They thus move the team logo to the sleeve. They’ve done this for years, so it isn’t a problem like it is in South Africa.
2011: The new Australian jerseys are not much different than those of recent years. Note the embossed stars on the lower torso, symbolizing the southern cross constellation featured on the Australian (and New Zealand) flag. In addition to the Wallaby on the sleeve, they have a world cup embroidered on the other sleeve with “1991” and “1999” their previous victories. They have an alternate in white, but unless they play the Romanians in the playoffs (the world is more likely to spontaneously combust) they shouldn’t need it.
Canada: Historically: The Canadians have a look that has remained constant over the years. This is the 2007 jersey and here’s another recent jersey. While it is not the most interesting jersey in the world, they have a consistent look that viewers associate with the squad.
2011: No major surprises. Like Australia, Kooga has given them an embossed detail (maple leaves). They have a black change strip which will come in handy given their two pool games against other red-wearing sides (Japan and Tonga).
England: Historically: The Red Rose is known best for their traditional white jersey. In recent times they have had various experiments with other colors and elements. In 2010/11 they added a grey element that is unusual for them, but is not as bad as it could be. England are a team where less is usually more.
2011: England have created the uni story of the tournament. Their traditional white strip is basically expected, though the white socks take the monochrome to a new level. Their change strip, however, is all black. In New Zealand, they are wearing all black. Nike is trying to cash in on the BFBS/BFNZS, but suffice it to say they have probably done themselves little by way of attracting Kiwi fans to cheer for them. Many All Black fans take this as quite the affront to their tradition. The change strip will be worn in the opener against Argentina.
Fiji: Traditionally: The Fijians have a simple white and black jersey, often with a dash of sky blue to represent the national flag. 2007’s RWC jersey very much followed that pattern. Since, they have had an unusual design that many dislike, but I find to be a modern classic. It just works for Fiji in a way it wouldn’t for others. In July they had a test against the All Blacks to raise funds for disaster relief and wore a unique jersey. That seems to be a one off for that special event, with a touch of red in honor of the Christchurch earthquake victims.
2011: Again Kooga has added some nice features of Fijian culture with the details on the waist and sleeves. If they come into a clash situation (likely only against England or Argentina in the playoffs) they have a sky blue clash strip.
France: Traditionally: The French for a long time wore royal blue. In 2007 they went to a much darker blue. Conspiracy theorists (myself included) saw this as an attempt to force the All Blacks into their change strips, which indeed happened in the quarterfinals. They have kept that blue since, but improved the design.
2011: The French, and Nike, have finally admitted their obsession with the All Blacks. Their two tone jersey is meant to honor the 1999 and 2007 French sides, both who famously beat the All Blacks in the playoff rounds. It may be the ugliest of the RWC jerseys. They also have a change strip, also in an odd gradient. That solid jersey was worn in a recent warm up and on TV just appeared white. No word yet on if the regular jersey will be deemed to clash with the All Blacks in their pool match.
Georgia: Traditionally: The Georgians first went to the 2003 RWC in a maroon and black jersey with odd symbols on it. They were significantly tamer in 2007 and had shifted from maroon to red, much like their flag did over that period (old and new). Recent jerseys have not been of much interest.
2011: Sadly, Georgia have little more than a stock Kooga jersey. If you ordered jerseys from Kooga for a local high school team this is what they would look like. The white change strip is even more boring, and they are unlikely to need it.
Ireland: Traditionally: It’s pretty hard to mess this one up. In 2007 the Irish went with a darker hue and had a bad World Cup. They’ve returned to a luckier green in recent times, as well as switching over to Puma. If they were to play South Africa at some point, they would likely go to white alternates.
2011: Their RWC jersey is nothing that exciting, just typical Irish fare. I’m not personally a big fan of the white sliver at the collar. The change strip is white, but has a weird athletic bra looking silhouette over the number on the back.
2011: Again the Italians have stuck to the same script. Like 2007 they again have those weird skeleton shiny strips on the rib cage. The biggest innovation is kappa going with a sideways word mark down the chest. The white alternate is rather plain.
Thanks Caleb! Great stuff. And apparently some of the games will be on NBC television in the States, so us Yanks can actually watch some of the games. Looking forward to Part II next weekend.
New NCAA Rundown
• Florida wore their orange jerseys against Florida Antlantic University to reel in the Will Muschamp era.
• Ole Miss wore their wonderful red jerseys against BYU (head to photo #3), but one of the players was wearing a blue jersey. Quote from reader Pat Sullivan: “He is the guy giving signals…The darker jersey makes him easier to spot on the sideline”.
• New Mexico wore new uniforms last night. It’s hard to tell, but they switched to the ever-so tired Mizzou template. Big downgrade from last year. But the real star of the day was the helmet that the Lobos wore Yesterday. A white shell with a combined “NM” logo, grey mask, and a red stripe that tapers in the back. And details behind the story of it?
• New uniforms for San Jose State. I’d rather not see the golden sweat stains on the jersey. The Oregon-style pants, while not great, aren’t too offensive.
• The experimental pant that Adidas was testing out with Michigan during the offseason is being used by UCLA. They look more beige/piss than UCLA Gold (their official shade of “Old Gold”) now. On the plus side, no mini T.V. numbers this time around!
• The Washington Huskies had a “150″ painted at the 25 yard-lines (presumably for an anniversary for the school). It’s painted only in their official shade of purple (which is like a dark lavender), making it really difficult to see. White or gold would’ve been much better.
• Aside from a new lid (as reported by Paul), Tulsa also got new uniforms.
by Rick Pearson
Wasn’t much of a relationship, but some parts were outstanding…
And, of course, the full-size.
We have another new set of tweaks today.
If you have a tweak, change or concept for any sport, send them my way.
Remember, if possible, try to keep your descriptions to ~50 words (give or take) per tweak. You guys have been great at keeping to that, and it’s much appreciated!
And so, lets begin:
We start with Glenn Simpkins, who has a bunch of National League tweaks (sorry for the delay, Glenn, but I didn’t run any tweaks during Paul’s sabbatical):
Some more Uni Tweaks, with the hope of a Uni Tweak extravaganza at some point soon. With Paul on Vacation, I’m starved of that usual piece of Weekend content. When I Emailed the last batch on 5/30/2011, they werent posted until 6/25/2011. You must have a severely clogged queue!
The next batch I have rounds out the Senior Circuit. in all of them No NOBs, and numbers only belong on the front if and only if the word-mark is cascade up or a mark on the left breast:
Miami/Florida: THE Jeff made a nice Miami word-mark posted 4/30/2011, so I thought conform it to the Marlins current color scheme for the Road. I also invoke that, since the Twins use the TC cap in reference to their metropolitan area of Minneapolis-St. Paul, whilst geographically calling themselves Minnesota, a state, the Marlins have every right to geographically call themselves Miami, per their agreement, and leave their cap alone to refer to Florida.
Hope to see these posted, along with what others have to show, very soon.
Up in the two-hole is Mike Ballinger, with some changes for the Bengals:
As a lifelong Bengals fan, I’ve had to stare at tiger stripes. Tiger stripes EVERYWHERE! While I do like the tiger-striped helmet, I feel that having stripes all over the uni is a little too much and distracts from the classic striped helmet. The current uni set (used since the ’04 season) is so hideous, that I felt that I too must tweak the Bengals’ uni. I wanted to take the simplicity of the 1st generation uni (1968-1980) and the familiar elements of the 2nd/3rd generation unis (1981-2003) and add a modern touch. I’ve always preferred the ‘varsity block’ style numbers, as opposed to the ‘comic-sans’ looking font on the current jersey. This is what I came up with. I couldn’t decide if I liked the “leaping tiger” on the shoulders or not, so I included them on the road set but excluded them from the home set.
Closing down the show today is Andrew Seagraves, who has a new look for the NC State Wolfpack:
I came out and said that I was bored by the NC State uniforms and looking into the Wolfpack’s history they’ve gone with only numbers on the front of their jersey at times and no stripes on the side (TV numbers on sleeves),
Also the pants have gone from no stripes, to one stripe to two stripes to three stripes tight together.
Here’s what I did – I took the three stripe (sometimes three stripes are three stripes) and put it on the undershirt with the wolf on the shoulder (not on top of the shoulders like in the 1970s) for the first two Red and White jerseys. I kept the pants white and added three stripes to the helmet and in theory to the pants alongside the NCS symbol.
Thanks so much!
Phew! Great stuff fellas. Back next weekend with more.
Occasionally, I will be featuring wonderful, high-quality black and white photographs that are just begging to be colorized.
Only two contributors today, and shockingly, their first names both start with “G”. That’s right, the G&G boys are back and better than ever.
We’ll start with Gary Chanko today:
As promised a couple of submittals to start the Fall season:
San Marcos High School football player
Last week a reader (Scott Rodriguez) wanted to colorize a 60s photo of a San Marcos High School football player. Great image of what appears to be a player suffering through a defeat.
Scott asked how to get started with colorizing. The tutorial I prepared a few months ago would be a good place to begin. All the techniques used in this submittal are covered in the tutorial.
This 1950 Spring training photo originally appeared in Life magazine and featured in Uniwatch in the 28 March 2008 blog edition. The original B&W was straighten and cropped, so some of the image was on the sides was lost.
I’m unable to ID any the players that appear to be rough housing. One strange item in the photo is what looks like a double stripe along the pant leg of the player sitting down on the far left. These are obviously 1948/49 uniforms and not the pinstripes first used during the upcoming 1950 season.
Great job, as always, Gary. And now on to the second half of the G&G Boys, George Chilvers:
One for this week with a story.
I was approached by the historian of a club to colourise this picture. In the late 1800s Liverpool was a thriving business centre with sea trade to the States. A lot of top businessmen lived in the City, and many had gone to the Public Schools of Eton and Harrow. Note that due to the vagaries of “English English” public schools are what you would call private schools. I could explain but it’d take too long for this resume.
Anyway these chaps formed a football club, Liverpool Ramblers, that had games between themselves (Eton v Harrow in Liverpool) as well as games against other teams. They were the first team from Liverpool to compete in the FA Cup before Everton and Liverpool. They are believed to be the oldest football club in the world not to have played in a league.
Anyway (again) – this picture dates from 1882 and has a number of top-dogs of the time. None more so than the chap in the playing kit standing third from the right at the back (between the guys in the grey suit and the fawn suit). He is J Bruce Ismay – founder of the White Star Line. He infamously survived the line’s biggest tragedy – the sinking of the Titanic. It is alleged by some that he took a place in the lifeboats when it was “woman and children first”. His supporters say that the lifeboat would have set off half-empty – what was he supposed to do? Just Wikipedia his story – but there he is in the orange and blue of Liverpoool Ramblers.
I believe my colourisation will be printed up and framed in the club room. Original is here. It’s not the best quality picture – but sometimes the story adds value.
Thanks George & Gary. Great stuff again this week.
5 & 1
And now, the part of the post you’ve all been waiting for: The 5 & 1.
For those of you unfamiliar with the “5 & 1” it’s pretty simple, really, much like Jim Vilk. He takes all of the NCAA games in a given weekend and examines them under the vilkescope to determine his best five, and one worst, matchup, as dictated by uniforms. There are few givens with the 5 & 1, because there is little rhyme or reason found inside the Vilk brain~pan. Large sums of money have been wagered, and lost, trying to figure out who’ll win the coveted “best” and “worst” #1s. And if you really want to know more, then be sure to read Being Jim Mothervilker…guaranteed to make your head explode. Now then, here’s Movi:
I may loves me some Rebs in red…but I REALLY loves me some Gators in orange!
Honorable Mention to Montana/Tennessee — Looks as if the Griz got an upgrade.
5. Middle Tennessee/Purdue — See, Brutus? I *do* pick B1G Ten teams, after all.
4. Eastern Kentucky/Kansas State — Proving I’m no fuddy-duddy: I love EKU’s new mini-E-pattern sleeves.
3. BYU/Ole Miss — Here comes the SEC…
2. Kentucky/Western Kentucky — Welcome to the 2011 Most Improved Unis Bowl!
1. Florida Atlantic/Florida — Pencil this one in for the year-end Top 5 list.
And my bad one: Elon/Vanderbilt – Diamond-side piping and wraparound strings…these are a few of my least favorite things.
Well…there’s the first salvo for the 2011 season…and he’s even worse than ever! I’m already down a couple hundy, and it’s only week one! Now taking applications for a new 5 & 1 guy…
OK, that’s enough for this Sunday of a Laborious Day weekend. Tip of the cap to Comrade Marshall on his favorite holiday and to Lady Pineapple, whose birthday is Monday. Happy B’Day Kate!
No one submitted a “Ducktracker” application, so I guess that means either there won’t be one this year, or I’ll just have to do it. And we don’t want that, do we? No. C’mon peeps, step up the the Nikegon plate here. That ninja duck doesn’t look so good when LSU drops a “L” on you! Good thing they’ll never wear that combination again.
Everyone have a great Sunday, a wonderful Labor Day…and I’ll catch ya next weekend.
“David Letterman writer, Eric Stangel, sums up the Georgia uniforms nicely: ‘Who designed Georgia’s uniforms? Ocean Spray?’ — Johnny Okray