Jersey Colour Debate is All Black and White (and Red)

As far as cynical marketing ploys go, the English appearing in black will go down, depending on your view, as either inspired or insipid.

The word out of New Zealand is that England will only wear their 'alternate' jersey once, but if you want to wear the black jersey and associated merchandise you can get your own supporters version for £55, kids version for £40, polo shirt for £30, tee shirt for £20, tournament tee shirt for £20, or jacket for £55. Just don't expect the Rolling Maul to provide any links (unless payment is received from the English Rugby Football Union to do so of course).

Whether the mechandise includes numbers that rub off in scrums or comes with built in black armbands to mourn the passing of English World Cup hopes with the injury to Andrew Sheridan is unknown (which also begs the question what will the English do if someone does die and they need to show mourning in the traditional method - a white armband?).

Yet it's not just the English that are playing this game, for many of the teams are reading from the same marketing textbook. Scotland's dark blue is now almost black, Wales' and Canada's alternate strip is black, and France's blue is much darker than it's ever been. Meanwhile France also appear in white, Georgia's glorious burgundy of a couple world cups ago was replaced by red and against Scotland they wore white and Italy's, Samoa's, Scotland's, South Africa's, and the USA's alternate jerseys are also white. It seems Scotland's excellent purple jerseys of a few years back are no more

Full credit to Fiji though who traditionally wear white but have a light blue alternate jersey.

In the lack of imagination stakes you can tick off Georgia, Canada, Wales, Tonga and Russia who wear red and Japan who have red and white stripes.

It is no different in the Super Rugby or the NRL (Rugby League) where nearly every team has a white away strip that just conveniently gives the team's jersey sponsors more prominence.

And for the record the Wallabies also have an alternate strip featuring white but they won't be wearing it at the Cup - but supporters can buy it. More proof if ever it was needed that the concept of alternate jerseys is less about how you look on the field but how your supporters and sponsors look off it.