The best classic shirts to wear to support your team, from the stands or the sofa
The Best Rugby Jerseys 2021
There comes a time in everyone’s life where you have to admit that the unforgiving cut of a modern replica rugby shirt is doing you no favours – after all these shirts are designed for players whose bodies broadly look like an inverted pyramid and especially after the last 18 months, who among us can honestly say they’re in the shape of their lives?
Related: Best replica rugby shirts 2021
Thankfully, rugby union is a sport steeped in tradition and nostalgia, and for us that means one thing – classic rugby shirts with big collars and forgiving dimensions that look sharp and are comfortable whether worn on the terraces, on the sofa or down the pub. So embrace this spirit of a bygone age, and relax in the comfort of one of these fantastic classic rugby jerseys.
The Best Rugby Jerseys 2021
England Rugby Umbro Home Classic Long Sleeve Jersey 2021/22
+ Loose fitting classic design
+ Colourful side-panels inspired by the test shirt
– Prominent main sponsor
While traditionalists might bemoan that this shirt is polyester instead of cotton, the knitted fabric is still soft, stretchy and forgiving, while being less likely to lose its shape than cotton after repeated washes.
The design is also as classic as you like, with an old-school button-up collar, long cuffed sleeves, and side panels that ape the colourful design of the men’s test shirt.
Canterbury Ireland Heritage Jersey
+ Moisture-wicking Vapodri material
+ 2003-inspired design
– Collar design not for everyone
Ireland’s test jerseys from Canterbury have been pretty bold and out there in recent years, but this Heritage design is modelled on one of the all-time classic Ireland jerseys, as worn by BOD and co in 2003.
Classic looks, then, but under the hood though, it’s a little more advanced – this shirt is made from Canterbury’s Vapodri moisture-wicking formula, so even though this looks and feels like a classic jersey, it should keep your temperature regulated like a performance garment.
Scotland Macron Home Long Sleeve Classic Rugby Shirt 2021/22
+ 100% cotton fabric
+ Subtle purple accents
– ‘Thistle’ graphic on back not to everyone’s taste
If you want a truly classic rugby shirt, then Macron and Scotland have you sorted, with its 100% cotton design giving both the look and feel of the shirts of the amateur era, while the subtle purple accents are a little not to the trim on the 2021/22 Scotland players kit.
The only thing that might not be to the taste of classic fans is the rather bold thistle print that covers the rear third of the design, and many fans would prefer no sponsor at all, but at least here it’s subtly added below the badge.
Wales Macron 21/22 Home S/S Classic Shirt
+ Short sleeves
+ Downsized sponsor logo
– But it still has a sponsor
Another 100% cotton supporter jersey for fans to enjoy, and this one incorporates many of the subtle elements that the 2021/22 players jersey does, including a low-profile take on the classic collar, white accents on the sleeves and pinstripes on the lower back.
As with all Macron classic jerseys it also features a downsized main sponsor underneath the WRU crest, which gives the shirt a more traditional feel, while the short sleeves enable this shirt to be easily paired with a coat or jacket in comfort.
Adidas All Blacks 2019/21 Supporter Jersey
+ Sleek, classic look
+ Details from test jersey
– Short sleeves not to everyone’s taste
The All Blacks jersey is the most iconic in all of rugby, and one of the most recognisable jerseys in sport, but Adidas’s super hi-tech approach to New Zealand’s on-field jerseys in recent years certainly aren’t trying to win over traditionalists in the style stakes, but that’s what this supporter’s design is for.
A classic black rugby jersey with an old-fashioned fold over collar is good for everyone, and while fans of long sleeves are out of luck here, it’s still a very classy number. However, this is last season’s shirt, which means that while it’s a bargain, you may wish to wait for the 2021/22 Classic shirt to be released – though we can’t imagine it’s going to be much different!
- Buy now from Sports Direct for £35
- Buy now from Pro:Direct Rugby for £21
- Buy now from Lovell Rugby for £30
Springboks ASICS Traditional Lions Tour Jersey 2021
+ Unique memento of the 2021 Lions
+ Springbok logo in number box
– Not exactly a ‘traditional’ Bok look
For this summer’s historic Lions tour, the Springboks wore a unique jersey for the test series that also paid tribute to the first South African tour of the Northern Hemisphere in 1906 in several subtle ways – the Bok badge was surrounded by a black shield, as on those vintage jerseys, and also the colour was tweaked ever so slightly to reflect the inconsistent dyeing of the era, which often gave Bok jerseys a blue-ish hue.
This ‘Traditional’ jerseys is the classic version of that shirt, and just like the real thing the green has a blue-ish tinge, and the Springbok is contained in a black shield with the year inside it. A fabulous memento of a memorable series victory, but it’s not exactly the most classic Bok jersey, is it?
Gilbert Barbarians Heritage Long Sleeve Shirt
+ Iconic hooped design
+ BaBaas values sleeve detail
– Real danger you’ll get called up for the squad if you wear it
The Barbarians concept is one of the most unique and wonderful things about rugby union, and while recent events haven’t been wonderful for the Babaas’ credibility, the invitational side’s swashbuckling style has created some of the most memorable and exhilarating moments in the history of the sport.
The Baa-Baas are currently supplied by Gilbert and this classic jersey brings to mind all those classic Barbarians tries we’ve watched a thousand times on YouTube. A lovely touch is the legend, ‘Flair, Courage, Spirit, Passion’ on the sleeves – the Barbarians ethos in a nutshell.
British & Irish Lions 2021 Canterbury Classic Jersey
+ Timeless Lions look
+ Will be current until next tour
– Might not be a happy reminder
The Lions series might have ended on a sour note for British and Irish fans this summer, but the Lions jersey itself remains a timeless and unimpeachable staple of rugby cool, and Canterbury have plenty of long and short-sleeved options to cater for fans – with the added bonus that they’ll be ‘current’ for another three-plus years.
The other bonus is that with the tour now over, reductions on these shirts, which won’t be supplanted until the end of 2023 at the earliest, make them probably the best value shirts on the market at the moment – provided you don’t mind the bad memories associated with it!
- Buy now from JD Sports for £15
- Buy now from Amazon for £15
- Buy now from Lions Official Store for £32.50
Can’t get to the shops? You can download the digital edition of Rugby World straight to your tablet or subscribe to the print edition to get the magazine delivered to your door.
Please follow Rugby World on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.