Your team’s colours are possibly the single most important aspect of rugby team kit selection. The colours make your team instantly recognisable and can have a huge psychological effect. Strong colours and patterns, for example, make the wearer feel strong and can be intimidating; a prime example is the All Blacks, whose totally black team kit looks imposing and powerful. Light colours and weak designs, however, have a completely opposite effect and can make opponents almost mock your side. Rugby is a tough game and the colours you choose should reflect that. Modern manufacturing and printing methods make it possible to produce rugby jerseys in almost any colour and pattern, so your options are almost limitless.
The shape of the jersey is less important, especially at grass roots level. The traditional rugby jersey with collar, long sleeves and loose fit are still popular with many sides. It is only at more senior level that shape and fit become major factors, as tight-fitting, collarless jerseys with short sleeves are the norm.
Traditional rugby shirts are made from 100% cotton; this is hardwearing and warm and is reasonably comfortable. The problem with cotton is that it is heavy and, when it gets wet, becomes heavier and uncomfortable. The inability to wick away water also means that players get cold quickly during breaks in play.
Modern fabrics like polyester and blended materials are now commonly used for rugby wear. They are as tough as cotton but are lighter, wick away moisture better and hold colour well, meaning that they look good year after year.
The importance of comfort cannot be stressed enough. If players are uncomfortable they are unlikely to be able to give of their best on the pitch. Crucial to comfort are:
- Fit – A good fit contributes to ease of movement, which is an essential ingredient of player performance.
- Weight – Heavy rugby team wear will tire players.
- Stretch – If you go for tight-fitting shirt, they must be made from stretch materials to allow unrestricted movement.
- Manufacture – Your kit should be well made so that internal seems do not irritate the skin and cause rashes.
As with all things, quality comes at a price. To purchase team rugby wear, your cheapest option is probably to go for off-the-shelf designs and colours, but custom team kit from somewhere like Clifton Clothing will make your team stand out from the rest. Bulk buying should help you to get a discount and keep the price down, so don’t be afraid to negotiate. Also, good quality rugby team kit is worth the added expense. However, be sure to set yourself a budget and stick to it.