The best rugby shirts for women to wear when you’re cheering on their team this year, or strapping on some boots and crossing the whitewash yourself
Best rugby shirts for women 2021
There was a time not too long ago when women’s rugby shirts were something of a misnomer, and female fans who wanted to support their teams or even those who wanted to get involved and play the game themselves had little choice but to don a men’s jersey and put up with a fit that was less than ideal. Even if women’s jerseys were available, they were often best described as ‘fashion’ items that bore a passing resemblance to the real thing, and often featured exaggerated necklines that were rightly lambasted by fans and players alike.
Thankfully, things have improved dramatically in recent years – with the growth of women’s rugby at grass-roots level, and the increasingly popularity and profile of the women’s international game, and more and more unions giving pro contracts to their female players, the demand has clearly been demonstrated and makers have responded by producing a wider and more pitch-ready range of shirts for women to choose from.
It’s not all perfect – women’s replica shirts are not always the easiest things to find at club level, for example, and if you’re looking for genuine, professional replica match jerseys you’ll also be out of luck as they aren’t really made. The other issue is that by and large the jerseys are replicas of the men’s team designs as opposed to the women’s international sides – so if you’re after a Black Ferns jersey instead of an All Blacks one, they’re very hard to find.
The good news is that many current women’s teams jerseys have identical looks and sponsors to their male counterpart, and there’s without doubt a wider selection of replica and more casual jerseys than ever before. Here’s our pick of the best rugby shirts for women.
Best rugby shirts for women 2021
Umbro Women’s England Rugby Home Replica Jersey 2020/21
+ Looks very similar to version worn by the pros
+ Ergonomic panels for extra comfort
+ Multi-layered tonal pattern on body
England’s double Grand Slam winners finished off their triumphant 2020 campaign by debuting their new home jersey created by kit supplier Umbro. The jersey itself is identical to the men’s shirt, complete with multi-layered pattern that adds depth to the classic England look.
Canterbury Ireland Women Home Pro Jersey 2020/21
+ Replica of Ireland Women’s on-field jersey
+ Vapodri fabric offers excellent moisture wicking
+ Low-profile crossover collar for performance fit
As mentioned above, it’s rare to see women’s jerseys that are bespoke replicas of the shirts worn by the actual women’s pro teams, but the Ireland jersey is a notable exception. Otherwise identical to the men’s jersey, including the striking black and green pattern on the body, this shirt’s main difference to the men’s jersey is the different shirt sponsor, Aon. Still, it’s a welcome move for the IRFU and Canterbury.
Macron Wales Home Shirt 2020/2021 Ladies
+ Dragon motif and hexagonal pattern just like pro shirt
+ WRU ‘shield’ badge just like Test jerseys
+ Relaxed fit compared to Test design
Another team with a new kit supplier for 2020/21, Wales ended their 12-year association with Under Armour over the summer, and have switched to Italian brand Macron in a seven-year deal.
The new shirt drew comparisons with Liverpool’s current home shirt, and as with England the women’s and men’s on-field are identical and share all the same sponsors, so whether you’re cheering on Wales’ women or men, this shirt will fit the bill.
Adidas New Zealand 2019/20 Women’s Home Shirt
+ Reduced seams for extra comfort
+ Low profile crew neck fit for all shapes and sizes
+ Classic black jersey with white collar
The continued difficulty in being able to source a Black Ferns jersey, even in New Zealand, has been rightfully criticised by fans for some time, but if you’re happy wearing a replica of the iconic All Blacks jersey instead, then this is a very ‘pro’ example.
With ‘seamless technology’ designed to maximise comfort, a raw elastic low-profile collar and ‘triaxle’ pattern across the front this is one of the most game-ready replicas you can get.
Macron Scotland 2020/21 Ladies Home Shirt
+ Gold touches celebrate first international match
+ Tartan pattern on lower back
+ Modern take on classic collar
Macron and Scotland have been together since 2013, and in that time the brand has provided the men in blue with some of the most ‘classic’ looking Test designs that we’ve seen in many a year, and the 2020/21 version is no exception.
What’s not entirely clear is why Macron has decided to make the women’s ‘pro’ version different to the mens – instead of a full-size main sponsor, they’ve opted for a scaled down version which isn’t like what either the women or the men’s teams wear. While some will appreciate the scaled down on-jersey advert, it’s still an odd choice.
Canterbury British & Irish Lions 2021 Women’s Pro Shirt
+ Striking ‘shard lion’ graphic on shoulders
+ Replica of Lions Test jersey
+ Made of 100% recycled polyester
While the Women’s Lions is still a concept that has bafflingly not been created, female fans can still cheer on the men’s team in South Africa next summer in a pretty spot-on replica of the Test jersey courtesy of Canterbury.
The shirt features a variety of interesting features including a ‘shard lion’ graphic on both shoulders, ‘SA 2020’ embroidered logo, unique low-profile collar design and from an environmental perspective, it’s also made of 100% recycled polyester, which is a nice touch.
Umbro Women’s England Rugby Classic Home Jersey 2020/21
+ Classic long-sleeve look
+ Old-school open-necked collar
+ Similar look to the on-field jersey
While polyester on-field jerseys are cool if you’re playing, many of us prefer something a bit less ‘pro’ for general use, and that’s where we can take a step back in time for a more old-school looking ‘classic’ design.
This England version offers long sleeves and an open-necked folding collar like the old pre-2003 jerseys of yore would sport, but with a vibe that’s very similar to the on-field design that Umbro’s created for the team.
Gilbert Women’s Barbarians Players Edition Rugby Shirt
+ Iconic hooped design
+ Authentic on-field look
+ BaBaas values sleeve detail
The Barbarians concept is one of the most unique and wonderful things about rugby union, and the invitational side’s swashbuckling style made a long overdue leap to the women’s game for the first time in 2017.
The BaBaas are currently supplied by Gilbert and this replica jersey brings a modern twist on the classic Barbarians hooped design – a lovely touch is the legend, ‘Flair, Courage, Spirit, Passion’ on the sleeves. The Barbarians ethos in a nutshell.
Canterbury Ospreys Women Vapodri Pro Home Shirt 2020/21
+ ‘Warped’ mask pattern
+ Stretch fabrics on underarms and sleeves for increased movement
+ Asymmetrical silver and green accents
While women’s jerseys are widely available for Test teams, finding jerseys for domestic teams isn’t always as easy – which is why it’s nice to see this jersey for Welsh region the Ospreys being more widely available than many.
An identical design to that worn by Alun Wyn Jones and company as well as the Welsh champion Ospreys Women’s team, this shirt features a striking ‘warped mask’ graphic on the body, and very fetching silver and mint green accents on the collar.
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