Rugby Shirts - The old style Vs. the New style

October 27 2014

Rugby shirts are now all about athleticism and style; the old style  were about a loose, comfortable fit combined with heavy material – this made it  easier to smash and grab a player in a tackle, but times have changed and this is no longer possible.

The new slim line style Rugby shirts help a rugby winger run like the wind down a touch line and they make it harder for the opposition to tackle. The old baggy Rugby shirts of the 80s and 90s led to heavy tackles with the risk of injury. Today’s rugby shirts are designed so that they cling tightly to a rugby players’ body; shirts are also created using the very best in technical polyester material which absorbs sweat and does not weigh the shirts down like the old cotton style rugby shirts did.

It’s amazing to see how has changed from the 80s and 90s: from rule changes, to video refs and even to the rugby kit which is now fashionable enough to wear not just on the pitch but for social events too.

It has been a great battle ground over the past decade with the big brands such as Kooga, Cantebury, Gilbert and Samurai distributing rugby shirts throughout the UK, and with each brand bringing out new lines every year in an attempt to push the boundaries whilst aiming to design shirts to have the very best abilities to help improve a player’s performance on the pitch. Kooga, as an example, have continued to design rugby shirts with breathable panels on the sides  - underneath the arms - to help cool a player’s temperature; old style rugby shirts did not have such features. These small advancements have led to improvements in rugby through the decades.

Newly designed rugby shirts are getting more technical which makes us wonder how rugby and the kit involved will continue to change and evolve . Will children need to diet strictly from a young age in order to fit into tightly designed shirts? Older style shirts allowed for a few extra pounds of weight, but with today’s strict demands on fitness and competition, will players have to stay in good shape to fit into extravagantly designed rugby shirts? Nutrition may be a big factor not just for professional  players but for local rugby club players as big brands are rolled out not just in professional clubs but through local amateur clubs as well.

So there we have it, there have been some interesting differences in rugby shirts over the years; with some serious functional changes from kit used in the old days to the shirts that are used now. Times have really changed from the  days where rugby shirts were ripped off your back in the 90s to the slick, tight, smooth and silky material which makes tackling a real nightmare in today’s game. Have the changes been a bit extreme or have the shirts led to a cleaner game? We’ll let you, as the fans, be the judge of that!