Red-green kit clashes will be banned by the 2027 World Cup to help those with colour vision deficiency. A welcome move? Read this debate from our December 2021 issue


Face-off: Should kit colours be catered to colour-blind fans?

YES, says the Telegraph rugby reporter

For the record, I’m not colour blind – just blessed with poor vision since early childhood coming from a long line of bespectacled people. Perhaps that’s why, like any decent human being, I can sympathise with how annoying a visual impairment might be, such as being unable to distinguish between red and green.

What I wasn’t aware of until the recent announcement by World Rugby that red-green kit clashes would be phased out by the 2027 Rugby World Cup was just how many people suffer from colour blindness: one in 12 men, including World Rugby chairman Bill Beaumont, and one in 200 women.

Bill Beaumont suffers from colour blindness

World Rugby boss Bill Beaumont has colour vision deficiency (Getty)

That’s an enormous chunk of the rugby-viewing public sitting down to watch matches between sides in predominantly red and green kits who are struggling to distinguish the teams apart, watching instead 30 players run around in a shade of green not too far away from the colour of the vomit emoji.

If such a large portion of rugby viewers are suffering in this way, why wouldn’t you tweak the kits to help? If anything, it feels overdue. Given how much rugby loves flogging a new alternate jersey each year, it almost makes sense to have a product on standby in case such a kit clash arises.

World Rugby don’t get everything right but recently they have shown they are listening, whether to colour-blind viewers or players scraping the flesh off their legs on 4G pitches who can now wear tights and leggings in matches.

And if you think trying to help colour-blind rugby viewers is “woke”, find a better way to express yourself – and have a bit of empathy.

Face-off: Should kit colours be catered to colour-blind fans?

Ireland players model their home and alternate jerseys, made by Canterbury, for this season (Inpho)

NO, says the host of the EggChasers podcast

Rugby has faced numerous problems in recent times, from empty stadiums to lapsed TV deals to the grass-roots level where many clubs are failing to fulfil second-team fixtures.

So you would think the powers-that-be need to be spending all their time promoting the game. But the recent initiative from World Rugby is to solve – yes, you guessed it – issues faced by colour-blind people.

Rugby fans

Rugby missed the fans (Getty)

It’s not to say this is an unimportant matter, nor that World Rugby can’t do more than one thing at a time. However, it seems rugby wants to do too many things at once – and none that help rugby.

The list of issues that authorities are addressing includes but is not limited to: racism, online hate, cultural appropriation and gender equality.

Outside of a handful of non-playing, rugby blog sites, no one has asked for this. So forgive me if I consider stripping the colour from the game as just another issue to cover up a lack of solutions for real rugby problems.

Categorising colour blindness – a condition that affects many people in a serious manner – with other unrelated issues is obviously not fair. In the club game I think the situation is simple: every club should have a home kit and an alternative white kit.

But turning out in the colour of your nation matters. When you pull on the jersey of your country, it’s a reward for a lifetime of hard work and exceptional sporting achievement.

Samoa kit

Dwayne Polataivao pictured in Samoa’s white jersey at a 2021 kit launch in Auckland (Getty Images)

Face-off: Should kit colours be catered to colour-blind fans? We want to know what YOU think. Email your views to

This debate first appeared in the December 2021 issue of Rugby World.