Rugby: Green jersey banished to away role

Highlanders Lima Sopoaga (left) and Jamie Mackintosh wear their green jerseys during a Super 15...
Highlanders Lima Sopoaga (left) and Jamie Mackintosh wear their green jerseys during a Super 15 match against the Force at Carisbrook in June. Photo by Peter McIntosh.
The Highlanders green jersey is on the way out with the boss of the franchise admitting it might have been a mistake.

The green jersey, which was met by a din of disapproval when it was revealed at the end of last season, has been banished to the role as the away strip by the Highlanders next season, and could then disappear completely.

Highlanders general manager Roger Clark will meet University of Otago marketing experts today to discuss consultation on a new playing strip for 2013, but confirmed yesterday the traditional playing strip of blue, gold and maroon will be maintained for next season.

The green strip will replace the purple jersey to be worn as an away jersey.

He said the change to a green jersey with dark blue shorts as a playing strip was perhaps the one change which had not been backed by supporters.

"In hindsight, maybe it was a faux pas. The Highlanders have made a lot of changes in the past 12 to 16 months and this is the only one which didn't meet with approval," he said.

"If we could wind back the clock, then perhaps we would have done it differently. But the decision was made when the Highlanders were at a low ebb, and not that many people cared.

"But the good, positive thing in what happened was it showed that a lot of people still really cared about the Highlanders. That did really surprise us and showed there is still a lot of support out there for the team."

The new colours were introduced in the last home game of the year in June and attracted much criticism over the colour, the ending of the blue, gold and maroon strip, and the lack of consultation over the new strip.

Clark said the green strip would not necessarily be ditched but that was up to what came out of the consultation.

The green jersey was no one individual's idea but a collective decision made by key people in the franchise, including coach Jamie Joseph.

The consultation would be carried out in the coming month, and it was hoped to have everything settled by the end of the year.

He said the board and management had listened to all the feedback and decided to stick with the traditional colours next year.

It was important the board and management stayed neutral during the consultation process which would be carried out by an independent group, Clark said.

Apparel supplier Adidas had been good enough to allow the side to stay with the blue, gold and maroon jersey next year, Clark said.

The Highlanders had originally said the green jersey would be used in all games next year due to contractual obligations.

All sponsors had been informed and supported the move, Clark said.

Involving the university would limit costs and he was mindful of spending on off-field activities.

"We don't want to spend a lot of time on this. We have got a big year coming up with assembling a good team, moving into a brand, new and amazing stadium, and getting people along to the games."

Clark said at the end of the day it was a jersey. The important thing was to have a team winning games, and making the Highlanders successful.



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