A word of warning: I'm about to bang on about there being yet another new England rugby kit. Those uninterested in my fumings should look away now...
Earlier today the RFU announced the launch of a new England team kit - a full 14 months after the launch of the last one.
FOURTEEN MONTHS! Jeez, talk about ripping off the long-suffering England rugby supporter. No sooner has he splashed out on a pristine white new England shirt (and its monstrous purple counterpart) in 2009 and a cream coloured limited edition commemorative jersey for the 2010 Six Nations, than he's being asked to fork out another fifty-odd quid on yet another new replica. How long will this one last? Until next year's World Cup perhaps? Sooner?
The new CEO at the RFU, John Steele, had previously said that he wanted to put rugby - and not commerce - back to the top of the RFU agenda. Well, way to go John.
As to the kit itself, despite the grey trimmings I don't have any major issue with it (it is certainly not in the same league as the 2007 horrendous ketchup swoosh effort) but, whatever my thoughts on the kit's sartorial qualities, the point is that it is totally and utterly unnecessary.
I read something somewhere recently that suggested that part of the aura of the All Blacks was their all black kit (the clue is in the name). As far as I can remember (and that's quite far, I assure you) there has only been one obvious change to the All Black's shirt design - the removal of the white collar some time in the 90s - in all the time I have watched the team play. Yes, materials change and new technologies are used but the basic design - an all black kit - has remained and over the years the shirt has come to symbolise something special, and the fact that they don't emblazon the shirt with a sponsor's logo only adds to the mystique. If only other countries, and England in particular, would follow suit.