Super Rugby Aotearoa has been an excellent competition – there’s no doubt about it. While any rugby would have been looked upon favourably after the extended period without sport earlier in the year, the solely New Zealand competition has been incredibly well-received for a multitude of reasons.

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One aspect that has frustrated fans, however, is the needless use of alternative strips – especially given the fact that only two sides in the competition share the same primary colour on their uniform.

When the Blues hosted the Highlanders in the early rounds of Super Rugby Aotearoa, the Blues donned their secondary strips – which were effectively just a lighter shade of blue. This created an unfortunate jersey clash, which made the match unnecessarily difficult to follow.

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After bursting on to the scene for the Hurricanes in Super Rugby 2019, the energetic flanker has caught the eye of rugby fans with his ability to get over the ball and handy support lines.

It brought back memories of the clash between the Highlanders and the Blues from earlier in the season when the Bulls were forced to change kits at half-time due to the similarities of the uniforms.

Now, in the final match of Super Rugby Aotearoa, played in front of an empty stadium due to coronavirus restrictions, the Highlanders have once again been involved in a ridiculous jersey situation.

The travelling Hurricanes, instead of wearing their traditional yellow and black jerseys, marched out onto the field wearing their grey-blue alternate strips – and fans were instantly incensed.

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It was bad enough that the Hurricanes were wearing an ‘away’ strip when there was no clash in the first place – but the change actually created a clash, with the dark blue of the Highlanders fairly similar to the grey Hurricanes jerseys.

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Some fans were also quick to jump on the irony of the match officials wearing yellow, the Hurricanes’ normal colours.

While there’s no argument that Super Rugby Aotearoa has been a raging success, despite the interruptions in the final round due to the global pandemic, fans will be eternally hopeful that the jersey situation is cleared up for the future. As rugby historian Jamie Wall noted, however, the colour clash was a laughably suitable way for the competition to sign off for the year.

 

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