Super Rugby is almost upon us. Can you handle it? It seems like yesterday that I was watching the Chiefs seal their second title. As a Stormers fan, 2013 was as frustrating a season as I’ve seen in awhile as the Capetonian outfit erred its way to a mid table 7th on the joint log and a disappointing 3rd within the SA Conference. As is the norm, the Stormers found themselves running onto the park in a fresh looking kit in 2013 and whilst it may have taken it’s time to grow on me initially, by mid-season it was looking shit hot in my eyes. The trend – it would seem – is set to continue as another season brings about another jersey. This time, however, I am not convinced.
Rugby – as in most sports – is as much a mental test as it is a physical one. The frame of mind you enter a match will directly affect your performance during a match. With that in mind, it is important to make sure that you surround yourself with positive vibes, thoughts and actions prior to the match. Something as small as what you warm up in can make a difference in my opinion. Take, for instance, a new pair of Adidas Blades. You know they look good and certainly know that they look good on you. Because you know you look shit hot you begin to act and play like you’re shit hot. Not that you weren’t prior to the Blades but the mental stimulation you receive from looking and feeling good gives you the mental edge out there. It’s like a team who plays in all white – or all black. They look like a professional unit even if they’re only a school 2nd team and I can guarantee you that these teams start their matches with a mental one-up on their opposition because they know they look awesome. They can feel their opposition staring downfield at them with trepidation and this fuels them to be raise their games to another level.
The opposite is true regarding a team who has an average looking kit.
This brings me quite neatly – and rather promptly – to the new Stormers kit for the 2014 Super Rugby season. The Stormers kit – barring one shocking season back in the late 90’s – has always looked awesome. From all black to royal blue to all white we always made sure we had an initial mental edge going into all matches regardless of our form. In recent season’s the brains trust at The Hallowed Grounds of Newlands have sort to assimilate the Western Province and Stormers jerseys. They wanted a visual confirmation that the two were essentially one. I understood the reasoning behind it and in all honesty was a big fan of the 2011 edition which saw the jersey take on the blue and white hoops of Province. The 2012 edition was much the same and as mentioned above the 2013 took its time to grow on me but eventually did. The 2014 edition is a shot out of left field though.
The home kit is much the same as previous editions and barring one or two matches will be what the team will be wearing for the majority of the tournament. I like that they have reverted to a darker blue and not the candy blue of last years jersey and I prefer the blue on the chest rather than last year’s white. The collar is reminiscent of the Province jersey of old and I appreciate the effort to ‘remember your roots’. What I can’t wrap my head around are the stripes on the stomach. What used to be classic hoops have now turned into some sort of mountain range heat wave effort which when on the players doesn’t look great. I can already tell, however, that this jersey will grow on me as the season progresses because if I am honest with myself my current grievances are minor compared to the away kit. That jersey is fucking shocking!
The only thing I like about the away jersey is the fact that the majority of it is white. The lighting bolt which takes centre stage on the jersey, however, makes us look like a second division French team. Kind of like Bayonne’s 3rd team or something. I cannot fathom that a) someone was paid to design this shite and b) someone in The Hallowed Grounds of Newlands signed off on it. What was he thinking? Gehd, honestly?! Both should be named and shamed. This jersey will not grow on me and does not install any confidence to me that the Stormers mean business.
Maybe I am being slightly harsh. If you were to say that a jersey is a jersey is a jersey and I’m being fickle, you’d probably be right. If you were to say that the performance on the field would either see the result go your way or not, you’d also be right. I’d be inclined to agree. Don’t, however, try to tell me that a mental edge cannot be gained by looking good and don’t tell be that this away kit is a horrible offering by the powers that be. The Stormers are better than that – in my opinion – and deserve more, rather than being sold short like this. Let’s hope that their performance on the pitch over shadows their kit this season. As it should do.
Check out the photos below and tell me what you think.
You stay classy.