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From Baggy To Fat-Shaming, The Gradual Sizing Change Of The Ireland Rugby Jersey

From Baggy To Fat-Shaming, The Gradual Sizing Change Of The Ireland Rugby Jersey
By Mikey Traynor
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If you're an Irish rugby fan, then chances are the idea of enjoying a pint while you watch the rugby is something that probably sounds pretty good to you.

Well, if that's the case then you've surely noticed that the more recent Ireland jerseys have become rather unfriendly to those who have a bit of a belly. The tight material no doubt feels great and fits your frame beautifully if you're Tommy Bowe, or have the body of a Greek God, but for those who aren't as strict with their diets, it's getting tough to find a jersey that doesn't draw attention to the gut or the unfortunate man-boobs.

That's not what rugby is about. A sport where big men not only have a role, but a critical one, should not be discriminating against those who are more loose(head) with their strictness when it comes to the finer things in life.

It wasn't always this way. No, once there was a time when a rugby jersey fit like a normal item of clothing, rather than stick to the skin like something Spiderman would wear.

We've chronicled the descent of the Irish rugby jersey into the unacceptable fat-shaming skin-tightness.

1998 - Basically A Poncho

Paddy Johns here against Georgia in 1998, modelling the Irish rugby jersey of the time which was essentially a massive piece of material with a whole cut in it for your head to go through. You could wear this to the match and down the pub after and it would hide any excess chubbiness with maximum efficiency.


1999 - Baggy But Balanced

Conor O'Shea models the 1999 Rugby World Cup jersey with a try against Romania. While Nike made the sleeves absolutely massive, a simple tuck-in meant the skinny lads could get away with it, and the big fellas could rock it with pride.

2000 - Still Absolutely Massive


A young Brian O'Driscoll swimming in a jersey that looks like it used to belong to his older brother. This represents the end of when jerseys were designed with forwards in mind.

2001 - Canterbury Get It Just Right


Keith Wood and Peter Clohessy looking well in the first Canterbury jersey which had the balance spot on. You could buy it tight for the wingers and full-backs, and still not damage the front-row's confidence.

2004 - Fun For Everyone

No qualms as backs and forwards celebrate a triple-crown win in one of the nicest ever Ireland jerseys, which didn't make anyone look silly.


2006 - The Beginning Of The End?


It's visibly getting tighter as the emphasis changes to avoiding tackles by the jersey. Gordan D'Arcy may have loved it, but the general public began to sweat.


2008 - Hit The Gym Or Feck Off

What's that white line over the chest? It's a line DELIBERATELY designed to make it look like you have tits. If you were unfortunate enough to have a bit of excess blubber in the breast area, then all this did was draw attention to it.

Look at Tomas O'Leary above, the shirt was made for him. A special "fat bastard" or "fan" jersey was made, different to what the players wore on the pitch. Disgraceful.


2010 - Puma Go Back To The Good Old Days

The first Puma jersey was just fine, beer-bellys were hidden, and it was acceptable for players and fans of all shapes and sizes to rock the jersey. But it wouldn't last long...

2012 - Puma Take The Piss

Even Paddy Jackson is second guessing his diet there, and just look at what it did to Dave Kilcoyne:

That's just mean from Puma. The 2011 jersey was designed to weed out the chubsters, and it was totally unacceptable.

2013 - A Restpite From The Madness

While the design wasn't up to much, the fit of the 2013 jersey was spot on. Sean Cronin didn't look any different to our starting centres, and just look what the extra confidence did for Cian Healy:

2014 - 4% Body Fat? You Fat Mess

Look at Tommy Bowe there, with his judging eyes, as if he's trying to guess how many fig-rolls you've eaten in the last week. Feck off Tommy, I like carbs and the people who work at my gym are intimidating. I shouldn't have to put up with this just because I tried to wear the same jersey as my heroes.

2015 - Hold It In Boys, Hold It In.

Look at Rob Kearney's smug face as he checks out his guns in what he no doubt thinks is a great jersey. Actually, it looks like Kearney and O'Connell are in the process of slagging Jack McGrath for how he looks.

Is this what you want Canterbury? Are you happy now?

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