|Artist impression of the new shirt|
Englands rugby team today struck a blow at the heart of a nation's collective national identity by announcing that the jersey for its away team will change to black.
The decision is sure to unnerve New Zealand who have adopted black as the unofficial national colour ever since a British journalist coined the name "All Blacks" in the early part of the last century. Black now forms the underlying theme of New Zealand's Nation Branding, and not just for its sports teams (Black Sticks, Tall Blacks etc.) It now adorns everything from passports to baby clothes.
One major problem with this adherence to image is the sense of confusion and loss when someone else takes a part of it as their own. It gives England a significant psychological advantage and is a brilliant move on their part.
The story was broken by the UK's Daily Mail
"The England rugby team will wear an all black strip when they kick off their World Cup campaign against Argentina in New Zealand.
The decision to wear the new 'away' strip for their opening pool match in Dunedin on September 10 is certain to ruffle a few Kiwi feathers and could even spark a diplomatic row with the host nation before a ball has been kicked.
Both the shirt and the shorts of the new strip are jet black with no other colour except for the Red Rose badge..."
A diplomatic row over something as ubiquitous as a colour, surely not? A country can't own a colour. Can it?
The Mail goes on to say that the strip will be worn for England's warm ups and opening match against Argentina. Intriguingly, the shirt will also display Maori symbols and decorations, presumably with the consent and the blessing of the iwi concerned. Nobody wants a repeat of the furore over the Mike Tyson tattoo, do they?
In the unlikely event that New Zealand should meet England in the field of battle the English team say they will revert to wearing their traditional white shirts.
No word yet as to whether the new 'all blacks' will be performing their own haka, or whether they'll go for something more exciting.
All Black fans sore losers at Carisbrook stadium, Dunedin
"French players are surprised and disappointed at the behaviour of Dunedin rugby fans who pelted them with bottles following last Saturday's Test defeat of the All Blacks .
A spokesman said the team has laid no complaint with New Zealand or Otago Rugby Football Union (ORU) officials but lock Sebastien Chabal and first five-eighth Francois Trinh-Duc on Wednesday said the players were stunned to have to dodge missiles as they celebrated their 27-22 first Test win.
As a team they lapped Carisbrook to show their appreciation to French supporters, only to be showered with plastic bottles - most of them full or half-full - by the crowd on the terrace, which featured large numbers of students. Some players reportedly had to duck or jump to avoid being hit..."more here
Fans throwing bottles during Mexican Wave, Dunedin, June 2010
Rugby fans in danger of attacks on Karangahape 'K' Road in Auckland.
The Auckland Tramways Union says the $2 million upgrade of bus stops along the city's Karangahape Road for the Rugby World Cup will lead to more assaults.
The union says a two-metre space between the upgraded shelters and motorway barrier will mean people can hide behind them and lie in wait for passengers, bus drivers or pedestrians. source
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"In order to help build an image, a country needs to be coherent in its visuals: from the flag to the colors of the sports teams, from stamps to banknotes, from passports to road signs. A country should find and keep a consistent look & feel in shapes, color schemes and typographies. Identify a national visual identity and color palette and dress with it. Almost always."
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