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14th Feb 2024

Wales criticised for controversial jersey decision ahead of Ireland match

Patrick McCarry

“Everyone knows [the kits] create a notorious clash every year.”

Ireland have Wales next up in the 2024 Six Nations and high numbers of rugby fans are set to be discommoded again.

At present, one in 12 men and one in 200 women (in Ireland and across the UK) have colour-vision deficiency, also known as colour blindness. The Colour Blind Awareness has long been campaigning for sports teams and organisations to be sensitive to such individuals when matches are being planned for.

As per that campaign’s website, ‘People with deuteranomaly and protanomaly are often incorrectly diagnosed collectively as ‘red-green’ colour blind because both types generally have difficulty distinguishing between reds, greens, browns and oranges.’

The issue here is that Ireland (green jerseys) and Wales (red) are basically indiscernible for many colour-blind rugby fans. The onus is on the away team to listen to feedback from such bodies, and World Rugby, before making a final decision.

Kathryn Albany-Ward, founder of Colour Blind Awareness, is a consultant to World Rugby but was disappointed to learn that Welsh Rugby Union (WRU) have decided against wearing their alternate ‘all black’ kit against Ireland, on February 24.

Louis Rees-Zammit of Wales wearing the black & yellow alternate Macron kit at the 2023 World Cup. (Photo by Craig Mercer/MB Media/Getty Images)

Frustration over Ireland Wales jersey clash

Disappointed with the decision for the WRU to stick with their red jersey for the upcoming game against Ireland, Kathryn Albany-Ward commented:

“We have seen the WRU’s comments that their black away kit would be a colour-blind kit clash against Ireland’s green kit. This is not the case, as demonstrated by the kits worn by New Zealand [black] and Ireland [green] in the 2023 Rugby World Cup. Six Nations is already aware of this.

“In our opinion the Wales black alternate kit should be worn in preference to the red kit which everyone knows creates a notorious clash every year and prevents thousands of fans from following the game.”

Albany-Ward added that WRU chief executive Nigel Walker told her that Wales’ kit-makers Macron need nine months’ notice to design kits for future tournaments so a late switch from red to black would not be possible.

The campaigner pointed out that Wales wore their all-black (with yellow trim) kit as recently as the 2023 World Cup, when they took on Portugal.


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