Bok warm-up jersey leaves many cold
The new-look top was supposed to launch last year but the pandemic put paid to that
The Springboks' new warm-up jersey has left some of their fans cold.
The change jersey will be seen for the first time on the team’s tour of Great Britain this month, starting with this Saturday's Test against Wales in Cardiff.
The jersey, which was designed by Khayelitsha-born and raised Mzukisi Mbane, was scheduled to be worn in 2020 for the first time but the Springboks didn't play because of the Covid-19 pandemic.
What is the point of this? Please explain...— Parrster✌️🐈🖖🇿🇦🎸🐾 (@NewPinboard) November 3, 2021
All players always talk about the honour of pulling the Bok Jersey over their heads and now you want to screw with this.... Very 😔
It will, however, see the light of day, if the Principality Stadium's famed roof is open, on Saturday when the Springboks complete their prematch routine.
SA Rugby said in a statement that the design is a collaboration between themselves, Mbane and Springbok technical partner ASICS.
“It is anchored in the traditional white of the Springbok alternate jersey but features Mbane’s signature patterning.
“The jersey will now be worn during the on-field warm-up before each of the forthcoming three Tests.”
It was originally announced as a match jersey. I suppose the overwhelming negative response changed that.— SwaziBoy🇸🇿🇬🇧🇺🇸 (@OrbitaDicta) November 3, 2021
Barry Mellis, general manager of ASICS SA, said: “The design is striking and has provoked plenty of comment – but overall, we’ve had really good feedback.”
Since images of the jersey first emerged on social media platforms strong opinions have been aired.
Some online users have been far from complimentary.
“This shirt has more lines than the department of homeland affairs,” wrote one Twitter user.
Am I the only one who sees a swastika on the jersey? No man, even if it’s a warm up jersey. This is very wrong— Gannicus (@GannicusBeast) November 3, 2021
The same users also wrote: “This shirt might just succeed in putting us back into international isolation.”
One Australian rugby writer shared his opinion: “That is ghastly. Should be buried and never dug up.”
I thought I remember the original press release saying they would wear it for one of the tests? I wholeheartedly support collabs - I think it's an awesome celebration of an artist. I think a design like the Blitzbok Centenary Mandela Jersey - could've been a winner for a Test!— My First Rugby Book (@RugbyBooks4Kids) November 3, 2021
Mellis added: “The fan is always keen to see new apparel and we thought they’d be interested to see something that was a departure from the traditional plain white jersey of the alternate kit.
“We had a tremendous reaction when we introduced the ‘Madiba’ jersey for the Blitzboks and this ‘collab’ jersey captures that essence, in our opinion,” added Mellis.
The jersey costs R1,000 and can be purchased from leading sports outfitters and online from the official SA Rugby shop.