Monday, January 21, 2019

MLR: Kits and Names

Our journey to find a team ahead of the new Major League Rugby season continues and this time we look at the kits of the nine teams in this year's competition and the teams' nicknames.

As Blues and Scarlets - and fans of any other team using Macron will know - kit is important. MLR doesn't have to worry about the differences in kit quality as all the kits are made by the same supplier - Australian based XBlade - but the designs vary massively. 

So, here are the kits ranked from worst to best and given 1-9 points.

Austin Elite 
The worst kind of retro. A late 90s / early 80s style abomination that looks like a bad stream buffering mid game.

Seattle Seawolves
Whilst plenty of people seem to be fans of the kit, it's just not nice. Plus the away kit looks like the ink has run on a the Seattle skyline drawing.

Glendale Raptors
Whilst the colours work perfectly well, those wings aren't a good look and the pinstripe bird on the away shirt makes it look like the ink was running out in the printer when the design was being printed off.

San Diego Legion
Last year's home kit was somewhat Saracens-esque and I preferred it. The much less complex away kit is a HUGE improvement though, with the weird black and white broken prints out and a simple white kit with red trim in.

The gold on the home jersey is subtle and beautiful. The all gold away is far less subtle... but surprisingly still beautiful.

Houston Sabercats
The yellow trim on the otherwise plain black home kit is exquisite. The reverse - including black band - is a bit more bumblebee. Unfortunately, the flying insect rather than the 80s song singing Transformer.

Toronto Arrows
A classic design in white and blue that are synonymous with the cities sport teams - the Maple Leafs and Bluejays - is far from anything original, but is stunning. The badge and sponsor only serve to enhance the look.

Utah Warriors
There's something exquisite about black rugby jerseys and the red stripes only further amplify that. The change strip of reversed colours and tonal reds is also among the MLR's finest.

Rugby United New York
Magnificent! In the colour of the New York flag both of RUNY's kits are delicious. The blue and orange is reminiscent of Netherlands football away shirt - fittingly the Dutch flag is where the NY colours were born from - whilst the navy and white stripes are timeless.

As well as the kits and badges, the team name goes a huge way to building the brand that can be hit or miss; for every Natal Sharks there's a Amherst College Lord Jeffs.

The worst of which is Rugby United New York. While the name itself is boring, the acronym RUNY is just terrible.

On the surface, San Diego Legion doesn't sound like a bad name, but Legion will forever conjure images of old clubs from my childhood smelling of cigarette smoke, stale booze and cheap aftershave; I don't want my rugby teams to remind me of totes and grab a granny nights.

Toronto Arrows is a let down of a name when you consider the other rugby team in the city is named Wolfpack.

As well as continuing the theme of the cities colours, Seattle have stuck on a similar path when it comes to the name. After NFL's Seahawks, Seattle have adopted Seawolves. It lacks the cool feeling though and they are basically just named after a fuck ugly fish.

NOLA Gold falls somewhere between a great name with heritage and the name of a contestant on RuPaul's Drag Race.

Anything named after a carnivorous, prehistoric creature with gnarly teeth is usually going to be a winner. Even more so if the name of the animal includes the name of a weapon and actually existed in your area. Houston Sabercats also rolls off the tongue a little easier than Houston Sabre-toothed Tigers.

Austin Elite. No point being coy when it comes to nicknames. Does what it says on the tin. 

Almost tempting to refer two paragraphs above for the Raptors, but Glendale's iconography is all aimed at raptors of the feathered kind. For some reason it feels a little classier and more personal than if it had been the mini-armed,scavenger misrepresented in film.

Ironically, a utahraptor is an actual species of dinosaur, but Utah chose to acknowledge the large Polynesian community of the area with the Warrior name and badge. It's classic, simple and majorly effective for such a physical and often brutal sport.

At the midway stage the table looks like this.

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