Color-blind rugby fans are apparently not in favor of the new alternative Springbok jersey and think the small difference it makes does not justify the huge break with tradition.
A new policy adopted by World Rugby this year stipulates that one rugby team must always play in a dark jersey and the other in a light jersey, to make it easier for the color blind to follow the game. This gave rise to the design of a turquoise Bok jersey, which some supporters compare to the Checkers Sixty60 delivery vehicle or even a bottle of Listerine mouthwash.
RNews asked a few colour-blind spectators what they thought of the jersey. These supporters say that although the jerseys make it slightly easier to distinguish between the teams, they would much rather see the Goats running out in the green and gold.
“Some people have dreamed of one day wearing the green and gold over their heads since childhood, but now it’s this turquoise mess,” says Eduan Dupper, one such rugby supporter.
He believes that the difference the jersey makes for the colorblind does not justify the break with tradition, especially since such a small percentage of spectators are colorblind.
According to World Rugby, around 300 million people worldwide suffer from color blindness. This is about 0.4% of the world population. The head of World Rugby, Bill Beaumont, is himself color blind.
Color Blind Awareness, a non-profit organization that aims to raise awareness of color blindness, says one of the biggest frustrations for color blind sports fans is kits that clash, usually when both teams’ kits are a similar color.
However, Pieter Swart, another supporter who suffers from color blindness, says that the color of the jerseys has never been a problem for him before. “There are usually enough differences to distinguish teams. Even if the jerseys are the same colour, the trousers or stockings will differ from each other,” says Swart. He also believes that the small percentage of color-blind viewers does not justify the change.
“I think there is a lot of tradition and history in teams’ traditional colours, which is much more important to keep.”
For Ruan Pieterse, another color blind, the new jerseys certainly make it easier to follow the game.
“I often struggle to tell the difference, especially when the Boks play Wales. The green jersey on the green field also makes it difficult.” However, he believes that the number of people who are color blind is so small that it does not justify a change in policy.