KitWatch SHIT/GOOD™ Ratings: England 2013 Home Kit

England newIn the lead up to the England vs Australia gameRugby Shirt Watch takes a look at the new England shirt and tells you whether youd and England will look like a dickhead in it, and then answers the immortal question – is it SHIT, or is it GOOD?

Who'd be an England kit designer? Honestly, is there a more thankless task in all of rugbyshirtdom? Every year or so you're tasked with putting out a new shirt or two, and yet the second you do anything that doesn't look EXACTLY like the shirts Will Carling et al when they won the Slam in '91, the Barbour jacket brigade are up in arms faster than you can say “warm John Smiths from the back of a Volvo estate in the Twickenham car park”. 

KitWatch SHIT/GOOD™ Ratings: Wales 2013 Home Kit

In the lead up to the Autumn Internationals, Rugby Shirt Watch will take a look at the new shirts on display from all the home nations, tell you who's going to look like a dickhead and why, and then answering the immortal question – is it SHIT, or is it GOOD?

Look, there's a massive, angry, shitting elephant in the room regarding this new Wales kit, and honestly, it's overshadowed everything else, but before we get to it let's try and take the shirt on its own merits. Under Armour has a different approach to what other brands are doing in terms of kit design, and where the likes of Canterbury are looking to more classic styles, as we saw with the recent England shirt, UA are unabashedly modern. Fans can be a bit love/hate with more forward thinking stuff, but this design really works. 

When rugby shirts went bad

1998 england  In years gone by, you knew where you were with rugby shirts.  They were in block colours and had not changed since public schoolboys took time out of desperately trying not to engage in sexual activity with each other and created the game of rugby instead.  

It was so simple back then.  England wore white, Wales red, Ireland green, Scotland navy and France royal blue; all of them had a badge on, a white collar and that was that.   It was also very rare that you would know who the manufacturer was as there was no logo, and anyone looking to the label for enlightenment would be led to believe that all shirts were made by a company called: "Large, Wash Colours Separately"

However, at some point in the early to mid-1990s this all changed.  The spectre of professionalism was looming large, and most unions and sports clothing manufacturers were sensing money to be made from the punters and so shirts began to change – and not for the better – as the marketing men moved in.  We have actually managed to get hold of the meeting minutes from each manufacturer at that period and here is a typical example after the jump.

Video: New Zealand vs England, 2004

It didn’t take long for England to start losing after the 2003 Worlc Cup victory; in fact, has there been a worse world champion side in the history of sport?  When England get horsed tomorrow, they at least have the excuse of being a new team at the start of a new era.  This lot had no such luxury.  Quite how bad it had become was summed up by this thumping from New Zealand in 2004.  Have a look at it here.  You may want to get a pillow to hide behind first.