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 – though this is starting to change with the Black Ferns and England both releasing bespoke replica jerseys for the first time this year.

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 England Women Red Roses Home Replica Jersey 2020/21

Credit: England Rugby Store

+ The first ever bespoke kit for the Red Roses
+ Rose thorn motif around neckline
+ Silicone crest

England’s Women have demonstrated that they are comfortably the best team in the world this Autumn, and they’ve done so wearing their first ever bespoke Red Roses jersey, which for the first time is a totally different design to the men’s.

With subtle red accents and a striking ‘rose thorns’ motif around the neckline, this is a kit that the Grand Slam winners can wear with pride.

Canterbury Ireland Women Home Pro Jersey 2020/21

Credit: Canterbury

+ Replica of Ireland Women’s on-field jersey
+ Vapodri fabric offers excellent moisture wicking
+ Made from 100% recycled polyester

Ireland have been making bespoke women’s replica jerseys for a while now, and this year’s design is another step in the right direction. While ostensibly similar to the men’s jersey the sublimated graphic on each sleeve is unique to Ireland Women, while their shirt sponsor, Aon, also sets it apart from the men’s design.

Macron Wales Home Shirt 2021/22 Ladies

+ Subtle sublimated chevron pattern
+ ‘Anrhydedd’ embossed on back of neck
+ Made of 100% recycled material

The Welsh Rugby Union switched to Macron from Under Armour last season, and that means that for the first time in the professional era, Wales have moved from a two-year kit cycle to annual releases – something that’s frustrating for fans but at least keeps things fresh on the pitch.

The new shirt is a slightly more modern take on the Wales recipe than last year’s super-retro design, with a subtle pinstriped chevron pattern on the top, low-profile collar and subtle touches, like the embossed word ‘Anrhydedd’ (honour) on the back of the neck. Wales’ women wear an identical kit to the men so while it’s not a bespoke jersey, it still does the job.

Adidas New Zealand Black Ferns 2021 Home Shirt

Credit: Adidas

+ Unique Black Ferns jersey
+ Comfort crew neck fit for all shapes and sizes
+ Made of Primeblue recycled ocean plastic

The Black Ferns have been the most dominant team in women’s rugby, winning five Rugby World Cups to date, so the lack of dedicated jerseys has long been a bone of contention for fans.

That has finally changed with Adidas releasing the first ever bespoke Black Ferns jersey this season, complete with sublimated fern graphic and crew collar. It’s also made out of Adidas’s Primeblue material, which uses recycled ocean plastic waste to make the material.

Macron Scotland 2021/22 Ladies Replica Home

Credit: Macron

+ Purple and blue trim represents Scottish Saltire and a thistle
+ Made of recycled plastic bottles
+ Embossed thistle motif on back and sides

Scotland might play in dark blue but for 2021/22 they’re going green, as long-time kit partner Macron has created this year’s jerseys using Eco-Armevo – a polyester fabric that is made of 100% recycled plastic bottles.

Unlike last year’s kit, where the ‘replica’ ladies jersey featured a scaled down sponsor for some reason, this one is at least a proper replica of the on-field shirt that both the men and women will wear this season.

Canterbury British & Irish Lions 2021 Women’s Pro Shirt

best rugby shirts for women

Credit: Lions Rugby

+ 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 is in the consultation stage, female fans can at least get the benefit of a pretty spot-on replica of the jersey the men wore in South Africa this summer 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 now that the tour is over, there are some good deals to be had.

ASICS South Africa Springboks 19/20 Women’s Home Shirt

Credit: Lovell Rugby

+ Modelled on the RWC winning kit
+ Iconic green and gold colours
+ Stitched Springbok and Protea badges

World champions, Lion tamers, All Black conquerers… South Africa might not have made many friends of neutrals in 2021, but the 2019 Rugby World Cup winners have shown why they’re still the team to beat.

The Boks are still rocking the same iconic jersey that Siya Kolisi wore to lift the Webb Ellis trophy two years ago, and this jersey is broadly the same, albeit with a round-neck collar instead of the modernist angular design on the men’s jersey.

Gilbert Women’s Barbarians Players Edition Rugby Shirt

best rugby shirts for women

Credit: Sports Direct

+ 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. A classy addition to any list of best rugby shirts for women. 

Le Coq Sportif France Women’s 2021/22 Replica

Credit: Lovell Rugby

+ Retro FFR logo
+ Large tricolore motif across side and back
+ Subtle patriotic touches

If there’s one nation that looks capable of one day challenging the hegemony of England and New Zealand in the women’s game, it’s France, and Les Bleus will head towards next year’s world cup wearing an identical jersey to the men.

The tricolore is a motif often used by Le Coq Sportif and that goes double when it’s a national team jersey, but this time they’ve really gone to the next level, with a large, swooping line of red, white and blue running from the side of the jersey up onto the shoulder.

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