RFL explain why England kit has gone from red to blue

James Gordon
2022 england rugby league kit

The launch of the new England kit for the upcoming World Cup was quite a change from the usual in rugby league.

It marked a significant shift from the use of red to blue on the shirt, dividing opinion.

And the RFL have now explained their reasons for the change.

One of those is that blue, in particular navy, is popular according to kit manufacturers Oxen, and they have already reported really strong early sales of the shirt.

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From red to blue

Mark Foster, the RFL’s chief commercial officer, said: “We said last week when confirming details for the new shirt launch, and the offers for supporters who had bought a jersey in the previous 12 months, that it was going to be different, and recognised it would provoke a debate.

“It’s one we had internally when the concept first came up earlier this year.

“It started from a desire to get a Rugby League chevron into the design – we saw with the popularity of the Great Britain shirt for the 2019 Lions tour that the heritage of that matters.

“But a red V isn’t an option for our national team – it’s already very closely identified with a very successful club team. And when you add Hull KR, Wigan, Salford, Leigh and others, there are a lot of clubs linked to designs around red and white.

“The more we thought about navy blue as the supporting colour to white, the more it appealed.

“England football kits have tended to have an element of blue, whether in the shirt or shorts.

“England cricket teams have always played white ball cricket in blue, and in the last five years they’ve won two home World Cups wearing blue.

“Our merchandise partners tell us navy is popular – and there is already encouraging evidence of that, with sales on day one surpassing the numbers we sold in the first month in 2021.

“We did have to check with RLWC21, as coincidentally the other three teams in our group in the men’s competition have mostly blue kits – Samoa, France and Greece. But they have given us the all clear – and the early signs are that we are going to have a lot of England supporters wearing the new shirts this autumn.”

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