The change strip has come under a lot of criticism as being insulting to the All Blacks, though the RFU have been quick to point out that they sought permission from New Zealand before going ahead with the design. In the agreement England are not permitted to wear it if they play New Zealand.
So the question is why? The English kit does not clash against the red of Wales, so it's obviously a Public Relations showing of the kit. The money makers are at it again, but will the English public accept it? Probably, if for no other reason than for the love of winding someone else up.
In a time when anything the RFU do is criticised (Steel & Thomson incidents, Blackett's report, Johnson's non English team), surely the last this they needed was a change strip that added fuel to the fire.
|The English team were due to wear the kit against Argentina at the Rugby World Cup later on this year, which is understandable due to the lightness of both country's home kits, and the only other nations playing in the world cup that would clash with the traditional white English kit is Fiji and the USA.
So what about the Kiwi's, are the really as upset about it as everyone claims? Well apparently not, it's received little more than a question of wonder at why they RFU would do this? It can't be psychological games, because they are not allowed to use it against the All Blacks. So what really is the point?
Most people agree that a change top, such as that worn by the English Rugby 7's team would be more appropriate, and stylish. (See right).
Lastly how does all this help the English with preparations for the Rugby World Cup? Surely the fall out of the RFU incidents must be taking their toll on the players, and for that matter, Martin Johnson. Only time will tell.