Les Bleus were wearing their alternate strip despite playing at the Stade de France
It is a strange look. The host nation and theoretical ‘home’ side France not in their traditional blue strip. So here’s why France are wearing white v New Zealand in the opening game of the Rugby World Cup 2023.
There’s no great conspiracy, rather it’s simply down to a 50:50. In this case, the toss of the coin. New Zealand won the toss and therefore got to choose to wear their famous All Black kit and also got the nod for the home changing room.
Why are France wearing white v New Zealand?
Undoubtedly it must have been weird for the France players to be getting changed in an unfamiliar setting, used to the luxury and literal home comforts afforded to them when the Guinness Six Nations comes to town.
However, wearing your away or alternate shirt when playing at home is a fairly regular occurrence in the Six Nations.
This is because the tradition is that it is on the home team to wear their change kit if there is a ‘clash’ with the opponent’s shirt. It is partly due to hospitality and also due to logistics. It more than helps with planning when you know which shirt you need to bring on tour. Juts ask the kit men!
Related: France Rugby World Cup squad
Kit clashes are not just the common same shade of blue, think Italy v France, but have taken on a new form in recent times. For example, in order to make the viewing experience better for colour blind viewers, Saracens and Sale both wore their alternate strips in the 2023 Premiership Rugby final.
World Rugby even moved to ban red and green clashes, clearly impacting Wales v Ireland games, in order to make the game more accessible.