As Stuart Lancaster’s men prepare to wear the traditional all-white shirt for the first time during the World Cup against Wales on Saturday we look back at some of England’s bygone shirts through the ages; Which is your favourite? Have your say below!
This classic all-white kit is a favourite amongst passionate England fans as many of the heroes of yesteryear donned it. Made of the conventional cotton material this shirt had nothing skin tight about it as can be seen above. However, it failed to bring much success to the team at the inaugural World Cup as they bowed out in the quarter-final following a 16-3 defeat to Wales in Brisbane.
RUCK rating: Old-fashioned 9/10
Coached by Geoff Cook England started 1991 undefeated at the Five Nations, but prior to the World Cup England revealed new shirts made by Cotton Traders. The new shirt featured new blue collars and blue and red stripes on the sleeves. That year England co-hosted the second Rugby World Cup, reaching the final, but in a tense final the Wallabies prevailed champions following a narrow 12-6 triumph at Twickenham.
RUCK rating: pleasant 7/10
England headed to the third Rugby World Cup, this time in South Africa, sporting new shirts from Cotton Traders once again. These jerseys, which also came in short sleeved versions, featured a thick red and blue stripe around each arm, and boasted the IRB logo on the right chest. England this time reached the semi-finals but was the victim of a Jonah Lomu masterclass as New Zealand reached the final with a 45-29 victory against the men in white in Cape Town.
RUCK rating: Second-rate 5/10
New shirt manufacturers Nike returned to the traditional all white kit in 1999, which would see the World Cup hosted primarily by Wales. The simple yet stylish shirt was essentially all-white, with very subtle red highlights. England qualified for the quarter-finals phase of the tournament but were promptly knocked out by South Africa, losing 44-21 in Paris.
RUCK rating: Retro 7/10
Significant changes and innovations were introduced to the England kit ahead of the 2003 season, most notably with the use of Nike’s dri-FIT material and the figure-hugging style of the shirts. Woodward’s side faced the hosts Australia in the final, and eventually prevailed in extra time thanks to a famous drop-goal from fly-half Jonny Wilkinson, securing the Northern Hemisphere their first World Cup crown.
RUCK rating: Legendary 10/10
Four years later Nike completely changed their design and as good as it looked on a model it was not exactly the most attractive on the pitch with splashes of red on the shirt and shorts looking incredibly messy. However, England were able to reach a second successive World Cup final, but this time narrowly lost 15-6 to the Springboks at the Stade de France.
RUCK rating: Kit-astrophe 4/10
Following 2007’s much-unloved kit, Nike reverted to the traditional all-white shirt. Coached by World Cup-winning captain Martin Johnson England claimed the Six Nations title in the run-up to the tournament, but failed to live up to expectations at the World Cup as they crashed out in the quarter-finals, losing 19-12 to France in Auckland.
RUCK rating: Pleasing 7/10
Thankfully England’s new manufacturers Canterbury have learned from mistakes of the past and have chosen to stick with the traditional all white design instead of trying something flashy like Nike did in 2007. England fans will be hoping this kit can symbolise happier memories than four years ago come to the conclusion of this year’s World Cup on 31st October.
RUCK rating: Shipshape 8/10