Highlanders CEO Roger Clark says he feared there could be a jersey clash in their Super Rugby clash against the Bulls in Pretoria last weekend.
There was chaos in first half of the encounter at Loftus Versfeld when both teams ran out with similar-looking jerseys.
The Bulls wore their regular blue kit, while the Highlanders’ sea-green colour made it difficult to distinguish between the teams.
The Bulls, who trailed 10-5 at half-time, then changed into a yellow and white strip before running out 38-13 victors.
In an interview with New Zealand’s Stuff.co.nz website, Clark said they had little leeway when sponsors Adidas presented them with their alternative jersey design before the season.
“We get our jerseys when Adidas show us ‘this is what we’ve got’ as an away jersey. We get to tweak them a little bit but the jersey we’ve got is pretty similar to what they gave us.
“We then give our two jerseys to Sanzaar and they then put them on a sheet in a breakdown of who is going to play each other in each game,” Clark said.
Greg Thomas, a spokesperson for Sanzaar, told Netwerk24 earlier this week that they were happy that the issue was sorted out at half-time and that the governing body would take note of what transpired.
Sanzaar is responsible for approving teams’ jerseys and a “colour chart” is made of all the matches. However, Thomas said on the colour chart it looked as though there was enough of a contrast between the two jerseys.
Clark added that normally referees would notice a possible jersey clash prior to games.
“But interestingly enough, from what I’ve heard is that when you put them next to each other, like when they do the coin toss, they actually look quite different.
“But when you put them on the field and people are looking for at them from the TV perspective or the stands then obviously there’s a massive clash,” the Highlanders boss said.
Meanwhile, Blue Bulls Company CEO Alfons Meyer said he was surprised that Sanzaar approved the jerseys.
“You could see in the first half some of the players were struggling with it. Luckily we had the yellow jerseys on hand at Loftus,” Meyer told Netwerk 24.
Meyer added that the yellow and white kit was originally designed for their away match against the Waratahs on March 21.
The Bulls boss continued: “This year we didn’t want to make a home and away kit, as well as a Captain America jersey. Before the competition started we asked the Waratahs if they would consider playing in their white jerseys when we tour there but they refused.
“The plan was for the yellow jersey to be an exclusive one with only 1 000 produced, but now it looks like there won’t be a supporters’ jersey. They team will wear the (yellow and white) jersey against the Waratahs and there may only be about 30 of it (produced).”
– Compiled by Herman Mostert