A history of the British Lions jersey

Published: 05th October 2009
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The British Lions jersey couldn't be easier to recognise. Furthermore, the jersey's vibrant red colour isn't just distinctive and easy to spot: it's a symbol of the power and determination of the squad.

Early years
The British and Irish Lions - as we now know them - held their first tour in 1888. This was to Australia and New Zealand.

The British Lions jersey for the tour had red, white and blue hoops. The shorts were white.

For the next two tours - to South Africa in 1891 and 1896 - the jersey changed. It became red and white, complemented with dark blue shorts.

The 1899 tour of Australia saw yet another change. This time, the jersey had red, white and blue hoops again but with the blue hoops wider than the others.

1910 - 1938
In 1910, the squad had a dark blue jersey with red socks and white shorts. After the First World War, the South African tour of 1924 saw the shorts become blue to match the jerseys. The first version of the four-quartered badge also appeared.

It was around this time that the nickname of the "Lions" came into popular use. In fact it was during the 1930 tour to New Zealand that the press began referring to the team in this way.

One other notable feature of the 1930 tour was the difficulty distinguishing the dark blue of the Lions' jerseys from the black of the New Zealanders. This resulted in the All Blacks agreeing to wear white instead.

The last British and Irish Lions tour before the Second World War was in 1938 to South Africa. On this occasion, the players wore the dark blue jersey they had sported since 1910.

Today's jersey
The jersey of the British and Irish Lions as worn today first appeared on a pitch in 1950. It formed part of a kit that represented the English, Welsh, Irish and Scottish nations: a red jersey, white shorts, and blue and green socks.

The 1950 red jersey was plainer than now, however, because it didn't carry the logos that we're used to seeing. Such logos first appeared in 1993. Since then they've changed to reflect the team's sponsors.

There is of course one other important feature on the modern British Lions jersey. Stitched to the left breast is the colourful badge that's famous across the rugby world.


Different formats
The British Lions jersey has therefore had a number of formats over the past 120 years or so. But the most striking of them all is today's dynamic red.
For ">British Lions Jersey Designs - Visit Lovell Rugby.

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