Ireland and Wales rugby teams wore home shirts for final time against each other today  - Ruck

Ireland and Wales rugby teams wore home shirts for final time against each other today 

In a thrilling showdown that marked the end of an era, today’s Six Nations clash between Ireland and Wales saw the last hurrah for their iconic home shirts against each other.

Traditionally adorned in striking red and vibrant green, the Welsh and Irish teams bid farewell to their signature colours as they locked horns on the rugby pitch.

But why the sudden switch? Well, it was all about inclusivity. For rugby aficionados, the distinctive hues of red and green are synonymous with these fierce competitors. However, for individuals with colour vision deficiency (CVD), distinguishing between these shades can be a daunting challenge.

With statistics revealing that as many as one in 12 men and one in 200 women grapple with CVD, the need for change became apparent.

Enter World Rugby, championing inclusivity with a groundbreaking decision. New regulations mandated teams to alter their kits in cases of color clashes, such as those between Ireland and Wales. This move aimed to level the playing field, ensuring that both viewers and players alike could fully immerse themselves in the game, regardless of their color perception abilities.

Echoing this sentiment, Welsh Rugby Union chief executive Abi Tierney acknowledged the profound impact of kit color clashes on the viewing experience.

She said: “Kit colour clashes do change the way you watch a game, and I have absolute empathy with those whose enjoyment is affected as a result.”

So, as we bid adieu to the iconic red and green showdown, we usher in a new era of accessibility and equality on the rugby field.


15. Serge Blanco (France) 

The French icon’s international career with France saw the flamboyant fullback perform various outlandish levels of skill while winning Five Nation Grand Slams in 1981 and 1987 as well as four further titles.

Blanco was a threat from everywhere on the field and often took risks that we very rarely see nowadays. In total, he won 93 caps for France during his 11-year international career between 1980 and 1991, which was a record when he retired.

He also scored an imposing 233 points and is a true legend of the sport.

Did you know: Images of Blanco’s on-field heroics can always be viewed ironically alongside images of him strutting along the touchline nursing a cigarette.

Honourable mentions: JPR Williams (Wales), Jason Robinson (England), Percy Montgomery (South Africa)

14. Jonah Lomu (New Zealand)

The New Zealander remains the joint all-time top try scorer at the Rugby World Cup along with Bryan Habana, crossing the whitewash on 15 different occasions across the 1995 and 1999 tournaments.

The easiest selection in a greatest ever XV.

Originally of Tongan descent, it was Lomu who made it glamorous to be a big, bruising winger, even though his stature could have easily seen him fill in at centre or somewhere in the pack.

Much like the Juggernaut of the Marvel Universe, there wasn’t much that could stop Lomu once he’d gotten into a stride.

Did you know: In September 2009, Lomu took part in an amateur bodybuilding contest, finishing second in two categories
Honourable mentions: Bryan Habana (South Africa), Doug Howlett (New Zealand), Shane Williams (Wales)

13. Brian O’Driscoll (Ireland) 

The former Ireland and British and Irish Lions Skipper Brian O’Driscoll was one of the most consistent performers in the world for over a decade.

He hung up his boots in 2014 after accumulating 133 caps for Ireland with a fantastic return of 245 points. In the emerald green, he triumphed in the Six Nations in 2009 (Grand Slam) and 2014 as well as being chosen as Player of the Tournament in 2006, 2007 and 2009.

The Dublin-born is also the highest all-time Irish record try scorer with an incredible 46 scores, and also led his country more times than any other player.

Did you know: O’Driscoll was chosen as Player of the Tournament in the 2006, 2007 and 2009 RBS Six Nations Championships.

Honourable mentions: Jeremy Guscott (England), Will Greenwood (England), Frank Bunce (New Zealand)