RFL explains radical new England shirt design following backlash, citing issues with St Helens and Wigan Warriors colours

England launched their new radical shirt yesterday – and it’s fair to say that opinion was divided.

The traditional red and white strip was scrapped, with a navy and white design taking pride of place on the national shirt for the first time.

Now, RFL Chief Commercial Officer Mark Foster, has explained the decision to abandon the traditional red and white.

“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,” Foster said.

“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.”

Will the navy and white help England to glory at the World Cup at the end of the year?

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