Who was the colour-blind ARU official who signed off on the new HSBC Sevens World Series gear? An insipid lime green jersey, shorts, and sox. Lime?
You could tell the new-look Australian squad wasn’t at all impressed with the new-look strip.
They were rightfully embarrassed.
And no doubt the vast majority of Australian television viewers were embarrassed as well watching the inaugural Sevens at Skilled Stadium on the Gold Coast yesterday.
Lime has nothing whatsoever to do with Australia’s national colours, or heritage. It’s green and gold; pure and simple.
There are any number of accurate alternatives:
* Thick green and gold hoops.
* Thin green and gold hoops or stripes.
* Vertical green and gold stripes.
* Or green and gold squares; even polka dots.
Anything but insipid lime green from neck to ankle.
“I love it, I think it’s fantastic,” was ARU boss John O’Neill’s reaction. “We wanted to differentiate between the Wallaby and Sevens jerseys, and we’ve achieved that”.
Ace it up John, you’re better than that. Whoever made the decision has left the Australians as the laughing stock of the tournament, on home turf.
The alternate strip is far more acceptable, with a predominately dark green jersey and shorts, with small inserts of lime green, but still lime green sox.
There’s only one decision to make: an “unfortunate” fire in the gear box housing the lime green is mandatory, forcing the squad to only wear the alternate strip.
Despite the insipid look, the young Australians beat Japan 33-0, and the USA 22-7 in the lime, but lost 21-7 to South Africa in the dark green.
Maybe the lime green put off the Japan and USA players. We’ll never know.
Whatever the reason, the young Australians, with eight of the 12 on debut and averaging just 19, made it through to the quarters – a phenomenal effort and a credit to long-time coach Michael O’Connor, a dual international and a legendary Sevens player in his day.
The quarter-final draw today:
* New Zealand v England.
* Samoa v Australia.
* Wales v Fiji.
* And South Africa v France.
Sevens, like Twenty20 cricket for the purists, isn’t everyone’s cup of tea. But it has taken on a more elite status as a new Olympic sport starting in Buenos Aires in 2020. Sevens is already a Commonwealth Games sport, creating a new meaning to the old saying “Play rugby, and see the world”.
It’s now “Play Sevens, and see the world faster”.
This Gold Coast tournament, billed as “Fever Pitch” which is a bit over the top, is just the start of the current worldwide series.
* Next weekend it’s in Dubai.
* The following weekend in Port Elizabeth.
* Then Wellington February 3-4, already sold out in just five minutes.
* Las Vegas – February 10-12.
* Hong Kong – March 23-25.
* Tokyo – March 31-April 1.
* Twickenham – May 5-6.
* Ending up at Murrayfield – May 12-13.
The flying schedule is arguably the most taxing of all sports, with no alternatives.
But there are any number of alternative strips for the Australian Sevens squad. Please, no more lime green.
Leave that to the paddle pop manufacturers.