Traditional sporting uniforms are essential
I obviously must live in a world today of vastly different values to the ones I’ve been brought up on. The pursuit of money for its own sake has existed in every generation and every era.
However, it seems in the past that the excesses of greed could, on most occasions, be restrained.
Let’s look at the current situation in rugby regarding national uniforms. The arrogant dismissal of tradition and history in pursuit of making a bucket-load of money is obscene to someone like me, who respects the history and tradition of rugby.
Not only do most countries have two styles of uniforms, some now have three or four variations, with many of them having only the vaguest connection with any historical precedence.
It has one purpose and one purpose only, to entice kids to persuade their parents to part with their hard-earned cash for every new variation that hits the retail shops every season.
It’s no longer about the sport, or even the country. It’s all about the money. It’s about naked, rampant, obscene greed.
Originally, the whole idea of having a change uniform in sport was to avoid two teams with similar or even almost identical uniforms from clashing. The theory was that most primary or ‘home’ uniforms comprised mid-dark to dark colours, so their alternate or ‘away’ uniforms should be based predominately on white or a lighter colour.
Alternately, if a team’s primary uniform was white or light coloured, then the opposite applied, with their away uniform being mid-dark to dark colours.
Let’s just concentrate on the traditional ‘big eight’ rugby nations and look at what is traditional and what might be acceptable as an alternate.
Primary uniform of white shirts, white shorts and navy blue socks.
Alternate strip should encompass variations of red and navy blue on white shirts.
Primary uniform of navy blue shirts, white or navy blue shorts and navy blue socks.
The addition of gold trim has been positive, as has the addition of purple in the past. But significantly, the primary navy blue has always remained.
Alternate strip of narrow navy blue bands on white shirts was very effective about 10-15 years ago.
Primary uniform of scarlet red shirts, white shorts and scarlet red socks. At different times Wales have flirted with black shorts as well.
The addition of green armbands and green bands on the fold of the socks 10-15 years ago was highly effective.
Alternate strip should encompass variations of scarlet red and green on white shirts.
Primary uniform of emerald green shirts, white shorts and emerald green socks.
Alternate strip should encompass variations of emerald green and orange on white.
Since Ireland draws its players from both the Republic and Northern Ireland, I’m surprised they don’t have even just minor orange trim in their uniform, in acknowledgement of the Northerners.
Primary uniform of royal blue shirts, white shorts and red socks. Although I have no problem with the current royal blue shorts.
Alternate strip (traditional) was white shirts, blue shorts and red socks. I also like the current alternate suggestion of narrow royal blue bands on white shirts, mimicking the French sailors of long ago.
Primary uniform of dark green shirts with gold collars, white shorts and dark green socks with gold bands on fold.
Alternate strip should encompass variations of dark green and gold on white shirts. South Africa could encompass other colours of their new flag, which would be in keeping with the country’s tradition.
Primary uniform of black shirts, black shorts and black socks, all with white trim.
Alternate strip should encompass perhaps white shirts with black shorts. However, grey can be used, along with also traditional Maori colours of jade green and cyan blue (or thereabouts).
Primary uniform of gold shirts, bottle green shorts and bottle green socks with gold fold.
Alternate strip might include bottle green and gold hoops used at 1995 World Cup, which looked impressive.
So there you have it. Stick to the history and tradition.
England have been the big offenders in bucking tradition/history, firstly with their alternate black strip last year and with their alternate purple strip this year.
It seems the whole purpose of wearing black is based on the premise that if England look like the All Blacks, then they might play like them.
How delusional is this?
In any case, if I see England any time soon run out onto the pitch in their alternate black uniforms and the All Blacks are forced to wear their alternate white/grey uniforms, then I reckon it will be time for the fans of rugby to speak up against this outrage.
Any sport that abandons its traditions, history and tribal values doesn’t deserve to prosper.
I used to think I was a pretty good rugby lock, but now realise I was deluded. My nickname is a truncation of my surname, so I'm not Arabic - phew! However, sometimes I imagine myself as a Beau Geste in the French Foreign Legion, fighting evil, righting wrongs, promoting good and rescuing damsels in distress.