Black Is The New White, England’s Rugby Shirt A Challenge?

English rugby today struck a blow at the heart of a nation’s collective national identity by announcing that the jersey for its away team will change to black.

The decision is sure to unnerve New Zealand who have adopted black as the unofficial national colour ever since a British journalist coined the name “All Blacks” in  the early part of the last century. Black now forms the underlying theme of New Zealand’s Nation Branding, and not just for its sports teams. It now adorns everything from passports to baby clothes.

One major problem with this adherence to image is the sense of confusion and loss when someone else takes a part of it as their own. It gives England a significant psychological advantage and is a brilliant move on their part.

The story was broken by the UK’s Daily Mail

“The England rugby team will wear an all black strip when they kick off their World Cup campaign against Argentina in New Zealand.

The decision to wear the new ‘away’ strip for their opening pool match in Dunedin on September 10 is certain to ruffle a few Kiwi feathers and could even spark a diplomatic row with the host nation before a ball has been kicked.

Both the shirt and the shorts of the new strip are jet black with no other colour except for the Red Rose badge…”

A diplomatic row over something as ubiquitous as a colour, surely not? A country can’t own a colour. Can it?

The Mail goes on to say that the strip will be worn for England’s warm ups and opening match against Argentina. Intriguingly, the shirt will also display Maori symbols and decorations, presumably with the consent and the blessing of the iwi concerned. Nobody wants a repeat of the furore over the Mike Tyson tattoo, do they?

In the unlikely event that  New Zealand should meet England in the field of battle the English team say they will revert to wearing their traditional white shirts.

No word yet as to whether the new ‘all blacks’ will be performing their own haka, or whether they’ll go for something more exciting.

Jonah Lomu

The decision has caused a lot of controversy, including a slamming from ex All Black legend  Jonah Lomu who  said “I will find it pretty weird to look across the paddock and see them run out not wearing that famous white uniform.”

Game on!

Related stories:

All Black fans sore losers at Carisbrook stadium, Dunedin

“French players are surprised and disappointed at the behaviour of Dunedin rugby fans who pelted them with bottles following last Saturday’s Test defeat of the All Blacks .

A spokesman said the team has laid no complaint with New Zealand or Otago Rugby Football Union (ORU) officials but lock Sebastien Chabal and first five-eighth Francois Trinh-Duc on Wednesday said the players were stunned to have to dodge missiles as they celebrated their 27-22 first Test win.

As a team they lapped Carisbrook to show their appreciation to French supporters, only to be showered with plastic bottles – most of them full or half-full – by the crowd on the terrace, which featured large numbers of students. Some players reportedly had to duck or jump to avoid being hit…”more here

Fans throwing bottles at Dunedin, June 2010

Rugby fans in danger of attacks on  Karangahape  ‘ K’ Road in Auckland.

The Auckland Tramways Union says the $2 million upgrade of bus stops along the city’s Karangahape Road for the Rugby World Cup will lead to more assaults.

The union says a two-metre space between the upgraded shelters and motorway barrier will mean people can hide behind them and lie in wait for passengers, bus drivers or pedestrians. source

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21 thoughts on “Black Is The New White, England’s Rugby Shirt A Challenge?

  1. The truth is…. For hundreds of years the english have had no conception of pride and honour. Although by being the way they are they have provided other nations with just that. History tells all. The english will never change and they will never get it. They don’t understand that they’re only fueling disrespect on themselves. You’d think they’d want to improve their worldwide reputation. The black jerseys are just another cowardly way to win, just the same as the style of rugby they play. Us Kiwis only pity this sort of poor sportsmanship. Why do the english not wear their white jersey and be proud of it? For a Kiwi, it would be more important to show our pride than to win a game. And as for the english fans at the game in Dunedin on Saturday throwing beer cans on the field (left wing try line) as the Argentinians were attacking in the last five minutes, just says it all. Inexcusably disgusting!! Clean up your act england.
    Kia Kaha Aotearoa!!

    • Are you getting sportsmanship confused with marketing strategies. If you can’t buy an All Blacks shirt for less than $50 what does that say about the team’s loyalty to you, or the sportswear provider’s for that matter?

      Everything has a price tag these days, including brand loyalties and colours it would seem.

  2. Think this could be a bad move on the part of England. The Kiwis are quite (for lack of a better word) proud of their black uniforms, could lead to the ABs playing harder against the poms if they come across then at some point.
    That being said, however, I don’t think a jersey should be such a hot button issue. Colours are colours in the end, and they don’t matter unless they’re Green and Gold. Go the Wallabies 😛

  3. The men who deserve to wear the black shirts will see the boys in their white shirts boys….bring it on!!!!

  4. ^-^ Another embarrassing arse-licking Saffer, so grateful to escape the crime he has turned into a Kiwi kultist. No thank you, I don’t want to buy candles, move along. Better than a flaming tyre around the neck any day, yes, right.

    • pommee, none of what you said has anything to do with the debate of ‘England wearing black’.. Be constructive mate or go find a forum on ‘the rednecks veiws on politics’.. I bet your the only one that liked your own comment.. cos no one cares about your pathetic veiws.

  5. What colour is the New Zealand away kit. Yep you have guessed it white, how long have they played in white for their away games? Whinging poms…. whinging Kiwi’s more like…

    • Your a clown.. NZ’s reverse strip has always been white, its not like they’re breaking tradition. Frankly, i dont give a rats what colour England chooses to wear, at the end of the day it dont matter what your wearing on the field but what you do on it.. England are no ‘ALL BLACKS’ no matter how much they wish they were.. Even in Black, England will never measure up to the All Blacks! They wont even come close! The All Black Jersy carries with it a proud history and legend that no other jersy in world rugby bears. When England put that black jersy on it means nothing.. To the New Zealanders who wear the “ORIGINAL ALL BLACK’ jersy, it means everything! World cup 2011 will be nothing but BLACK for you pommy wannabes! Weird thing is.. Im South African! Go the Bokkies.. But im a realist, and the reality is win or lose.. The All Blacks are the greatest.

  6. I can’t wait to see the Kiwis haka-up over the use of “Maori symbols and decorations” no doubt there will be much bemoaning the cultural theft of traditional NZ icons, until it’s revealed that England paid a handsome price to have them “approved”.

  7. As a kiwi I’m a bit bemused by this….but as they say ‘imitation is the sincerest form of flattery’.

  8. It got you thinking though didn’t it Benjamin and concerned enough to leave a comment on a blog you’d probably never otherwise visit.

    Has it occurred to you that England’s Psy Ops may not be directed so much at the All Blacks but their supporters. Undermining that support on the host team’s home turf gives a boost to the otherwise disadvantaged visiting team.

    Various techniques are used, by any set of groups, and aimed to influence a target audience’s value systems, belief systems, emotions, motives, reasoning, or behavior. It is used to induce confessions or reinforce attitudes and behaviors favorable to the originator’s objectives, and are sometimes combined with black operations or false flag tactics. Target audiences can be governments, organizations, groups, and individuals.

  9. ”One major problem with this adherence to image is the sense of confusion and loss when someone else takes a part of it as their own. It gives England a significant psychological advantage and is a brilliant move on their part.”

    Is today April 1st? is this a joke? Lets see who is confused and looses when and if England see New Zealand at this World Cup!

    I have a lot of English Rugby Friends and all and I mean ALL of them think this is the stupid! It seems only the media think this is a good thing, cause it gives them something to write about cause they obviously have nothing better to do!

  10. or the shirt taken off your back?

    Of course, the switch was agreed to beforehand, not to have gained the NZRU’s prior approval would’ve been churlish on England’s part.

    The change of shirt colour has been in the pipeline for 18 months:

    “The Rugby Football Union (RFU) have insisted that hosts New Zealand are happy for England to wear a new all-black away kit at the World Cup…

    Designers came up with the idea of a black kit to replace the current grey one 18 months ago and, mindful of New Zealand’s historic association with the colour, approached the country’s officials to seek their approval.

    The New Zealand Rugby Union (NZRU) have said they have no qualms with England wearing the strip, which will be unveiled in August…

    And, fully aware of the significance of a black shirt to New Zealand’s players and population as a whole, we (RFU) have fully consulted with the NZRU, who confirmed they had no issues.”

    One can only assume that the NZRU aren’t so hung up on colour, or image, as the rest of the country is.

    • Did England need designers to Create the ”AllBlack” Uniform, with there own crest on? Hope you didn’t pay them for originality.
      Now ween me and my NZ black mates ware our AllBlack tops, We gotta Support England to. Gz we just cant catch a break with you pomes
      100 years ago u stole our country now you want our rugby pride to. Its not what your wearing but how you wear it. ”With Pride” . I know i feel better wearing my own shoes not yours. NZ Hard..

  11. Rugby Psyops, Perfidious Poms!

    “Change breaks the brittle.” – Jan Houtema

    “N.Z. Prime Minister John Key labelled England “a bunch of wannabes” for attempting to mimic the iconic New Zealand outfit”.

    Wannabes? Jonesing for a seat in the section reserved for remote colonial outposts? That I seriously doubt. If I were cynical I could suggest that maybe this move was actually agreed upon beforehand by both nations together, to raise interest in attending the games, in a period of economic unrest and anxiety. But that would work off the presumption that they consider their own nation brand something that could be staked in that manner, and I do not think they do, because from what I can see, they are not segueing into a new sort of nation brand yet, outside of tacking on the “you” to “100% Pure”.

    The more successful and visible the nation brand, the harder it falls! They are getting a taste of tall poppy cutting in the slicko marketing area (where we know they excel). How’s it feel to have your leg pulled out from under you?

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