England's controversial purple kit set for the dustbin as RFU ponder banning change strips
10:52 GMT, 5 December 2012
The RFU are considering banning the controversial change strips worn by England for the autumn internationals including the garish purple shirts in which the side were beaten by Australia at Twickenham.
From the charcoal grey anthracite to the divisive black shirt at the World Cup, for each one of the past five seasons England have released a coloured ‘change’ shirt and worn it for at least one Test match to exploit commercial opportunities.
Although the kits are on sale at Twickenham on the day they are worn, and throughout the autumn, many of the change designs haven’t sold as expected. A red-and-white version – a design apparently inspired by the St George’s flag- was first introduced in 2008, then it was that horrible purple shirt against Argentina a year later, in which England played terribly.
What were they thinking England lost to Australia in this purple kit last month
Chris Ashton’s brilliant ‘try of the century’ against the Wallabies two years ago was marred only by the sight of his famous Swan dive in a dank grey ‘anthracite’ shirt.
Last month they played Australia again in a bright purple that supposedly harked back to the anthem jackets worn by England in the Seventies and Eighties. The team were defeated and the shirt – which looked just like an Arsenal away shirt from a few season ago – took the brunt of the blame, adding to the condemnation.
The only team in Test rugby against whom England would have to wear anything but their all-white home shirt is against Fiji. But absurdly, on November 10 it was Fiji who switched to blue.
Asked about the controversial change strips, RFU chief executive Ian Ritchie told the Times: ‘You always look at it. I’m quite happy to say one was surprised by the strength of feeling (about the purple shirt worn against Australia) and that it was correlated to the performance.
‘I don’t remember reading huge criticism for the last five years about a change of shirt. All of us look at these things and review it. How do we deal with the atmosphere Of course we look at all those things and it’s right to do that.’
And who remembers these horror kits
England v Argentina, 2009
Purple patch: Ugo Monye is sent flying in another England horror kit in 2009
England v Australia, 2010
Tryu of the century: But Chris Ashton's effort was scored in this grey monstrosity
England v Argentina, World Cup 2011
Black Saturday: Jonny Wilkinson wears this dark number against Argentina