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A vintage jersey every Kiwi Super Rugby team should bring back in 2024

By Ned Lester
Christian Cullen with the ball in hand for the Hurricanes. Photo by Ross Setford/Getty Images

It’s finally happening, ladies and gentlemen. Retro jerseys are set to feature in Super Rugby in 2024 and fans finally get the chance to revisit some classic eras and moments of this competition’s more colourful past.


While the baggy shirts and shorts will be absent, the block colours and graphic prints will be in full swing and the teams are soon to unveil which era they will be celebrating.

With various iterations and eras to choose from, here are some jerseys we hope can get resurrected in 2024.

Blues: 1997

The Auckland club are the one team to have revealed the jersey they will be bringing back, and in a promising sign of what’s to come, they’ve nailed it.

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The ’97 jerseys sport the classic blue, red and white colour scheme and graphically embrace the city of Auckland’s “City of Sails” nickname and DNA.

In an age where representing your region through jersey design has reached an overly subtle and minimalist point of evolution, the bold colours and literal references to the character of the city are a breath of fresh air.

Beating the Brumbies 23-7 in the ’97 final gives the jersey even more legendary status. Zinzan Brooke was the captain and a young Carlos Spencer was carving up the field. The checkered shoulder print turned to race stripes when Jonah Lomu or Eroni Clarke found space. Michael Jones and Sean Fitzpatrick are among other legends to have donned the jersey in ’97.

Carlos Spencer with ball in hand and Brian Lima in support. Photo by Ross Land/Getty Images

Chiefs: 1999

The checkered ’99 jerseys have a distinct Waikato flavour. More so than the team’s alternative look of this period which featured the swirling yellow, blue and burgundy shoulder panels – although the crisp white collars were a nice touch.


The stripes and pixelated shoulder print provided the classic black, orange and red colour scheme. Without the return of shirts sized seven times too large, fans will be deprived of the image of a sailing, loose jersey behind Damian McKenzie’s flowing mullet in the open field, which is a real crime.

The 90s were tough for the Chiefs but a sixth-place finish in ’99 equalled their best result in the Super 12 competition. And it was, of course, the year of Jonah Lomu.

Jonah Lomu with the ball in hand for the Chiefs. Photo by Ross Setford/Getty Images


Hurricanes: 1998

The Hurricanes jerseys were at their windiest in the 90s, embracing the region’s weather with bold colour blocks and unmistakable flare.

‘Canes fans will let their mind run wild with the sight of Ruben Love in Christian Cullen’s famous 15 jersey, while they’ll have to wait until 2025 to catch Ardie Savea in the retro kit.


The eighth-place finish in ’98 was a shame for a team that boasted Cullen’s talent alongside the likes of Tana Umaga. While not the most immediately influential player in the ’98 squad, Kevin “Smiley” Barrett featured at lock and would contribute hugely to the club’s success through some talented offspring.

Christian Cullen with the ball in hand for the Hurricanes. Photo by Ross Setford/Getty Images

Crusaders: 1999

The Canterbury team don’t exactly have the most exciting jersey history to dive into, but the classic red and black has had some nice iterations to go along with its fair share of historic moments.

Expect appropriate updates to the design as the club distance themselves from the history of their name.

Andrew Mehrtens led the 1999 Super 12 season in points scored as the Crusaders won their second Super Rugby title.

A southern derby against the Highlanders would be in tall order for any heritage round that features the ’99 kit, especially to commemorate the season’s final.

Caleb Ralph offloads the ball for the Crusaders. Photo by Phil Walter/Getty Images

Highlanders: 1999

And of course, one can only hope to complete the above picture with the inclusion of the Highlanders’ classic 1999 kit.

A record 41,500 fans packed into the “House of Pain” in Dunedin for the final, but southern fans would have to wait until 2015 to taste Super Rugby glory.

Tony Brown was of course key to both finals runs, with the Highlanders as an assistant coach in 2015 after donning the No. 10 jersey in the ’99 final. Brian Lima and Isitolo Maka scored for the Highlanders in the game.

Brian Lima with the ball in hand for the Highlanders. Photo by Ross Setford/Getty Images

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Eabn 7 hours ago
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