Jersey here to stay
Rugby Southland general manager Brian Hopley says the Stags playing strip worn on Saturday will not be a one-off and will be worn in certain games in the future.
The Stags ditched their traditional maroon jersey for their annual showdown with Otago on Saturday in Invercargill and instead wore a new jersey with a bold design. This included a landscape picture with a stag as the prominent feature.
Hopley said the concept was driven by sponsors Canterbury Clothing and had been endorsed by the senior players in the Stags.
Southland rugby jerseys were one of the biggest sellers in New Zealand, as far as provincial teams went, and Canterbury Clothing looked at it as another product for people to buy, Hopley said.
"I guess it is a different concept, but it was done to try to offer something alternative for people, and it is set as an alternate strip for us if needed as well."
"But from a Canterbury [Clothing] point of view they want to see if they can market it for sale."
Teams are required to have alternate strips when there is a possible jersey clash, such as when Southland plays Tasman.
Hopley said the alternate jersey would be rolled out in those sort of games, and potentially others.
However, they would predominantly wear the traditional maroon jersey throughout the season.
He conceded the jersey worn on Saturday was not popular with everyone.
"For a traditional rugby jersey it perhaps is not there.
"But it has got the Southland sort of brand to it and the artwork they have done is brilliant when you get up close to it and have a look. From a distance it probably doesn't come across as good as it does close up."
Meanwhile, Hopley was delighted with the crowd of about 7500 who turned up for Saturday's game against Otago, which Southland lost 33-22.
It was well up on the 2800 they got for the round one game against Bay of Plenty in Invercargill and helped Rugby Southland to reach their average season crowd figure of 3500, which they had budgeted for.
Hopley said it was another endorsement of why local derby games should be played on Saturdays.
WHAT THEY SAID
"An impressive technical achievement, but horrible. Just because you can, doesn't mean you should." – Shayne Cochrane
"Couldn't they have thrown a deer recovery chopper in there too?" – Denis Corkery
"I reckon they look great. We are the Stags after all so having one on the jersey is great!! Go the Stags!! – Karen Aitken
"If Whopper likes it then so do I." – Benji Tuffery
"Stick to the Southland colours." – Neil Bulling
"Want one!!" – Fiona Adams "Looks like a wool sack." – Nathan Sutton
The Southland Times