I theorised on the STR podcast a few weeks ago that Sale's updated away kit for the 2015-16 season could return back to the white/navy colour scheme that has played such a prominent part of the Sharks alternate uniforms in recent years.
However the official reveal last Thursday showed just how wrong I was - please see above.
Yes the new fluorescent yellow Sale Sharks away kit, set to debut on May 2nd against Newcastle in the last home game of the season, is a huge break from previous Sale kits. Welcome to a SharkTankRugby, and online first; a review of Sale Sharks' 2015-16 away kit.
First things first, with no official images available of the actual, manufactured kit or of it being worn by the players, I am basing this review on the official promotional, cgi image at the head of the article. This means that at this time, I am unaware of any additional design details on the back of the shirt, short or socks and I will update the review when more images become available.
Before we break down the new kit, piece-by-piece we'll start with the elephant in the room (review). The primary colour on the new shirt is striking and I applaud Sale and Samurai's ambition in taking a new, divergent path from more traditional styles to make the Sale brand more recognisable.
However I am not a fan of fluorescent colours in any sense. As a primary kit colour they looked amateurish when Northampton wore them last season and I am a firm believer that Sale would have been better off still adopting yellow as a primary colour, but in a diluted fashion without the fluorescence.
That said, the hi-vis yellow works well with the secondary navy colour that comprises Sale's home kit and it allows the navy design patterns throughout the kit to stand out more prominently.
Instantly noticeable on the new shirt is the distinct lack of sponsors splattered over the kit. Of course this may change when the shirt makes its in-game debut, however at this moment, the sole advertising logos, the relatively understated MBNA, really allows the shirt's intricate chest and shoulder designs to appear distinctive.
The shirt's design is akin to what Samurai have produced as Exeter Chiefs' kit manufacturer in recent years with the main decorations running parallel from the bottom of the shirt, up through the chest to the collar, and also down the sleeves. Samurai have done an excellent job however of fitting the 'Sharks' ethos into their kit template with the 'Sharks Fin' appearing halfway up the shirt as part of the standard Samurai design. The shirt design also corresponds neatly with that on the shorts with the 'Sharks Fin' mirrored as part of a continuous design, the symmetry of which, is very pleasing on the eyes.
The shoulder design on the promo image is unfortunately too difficult to discern at present although the navy designs do keep the shirt from appearing too plain, which it is clear was high on Sale and Samurai's priority list.
Speaking of which, I am not as big of a fan of the crescent chest design which feels a bit unnecessary with the shirt's other design elements already considered. An alternative option could have been to enlarge the 'fin' design further up to the chest to reduce the upper-body crowding this shirt suffers partly from.
As I mentioned earlier, the corresponding 'fin' design that mirrors that on the shirt is a strong main design feature on the shorts. However another nice touch is the two symmetrical additional fins on the inside leg which strengthens the Sharks motif further and keeps the shorts from being too basic.
As of yet there is no view of the short's back design although I imagine the main feature will be another MBNA logo across the player's backsides. Make of that what you will.
A relatively simple, uncluttered design on the socks which features both the primary and secondary colour schemes. The navy bands at the top and a replication of the 'fin' design found on the short's inside legs are both nice touches that shows the strong level of attention to detail found throughout the overall kit.
My immediate reaction to seeing the new kit on Thursday morning was initially one of displeasure - such a radical break from both the current Sale home shirt design and from previous Sale away kits came as quite the shock. However since then I have really warmed to the new design and I applaud Sale and Samurai's ambition in attempting something new and exciting in terms of growing the club's brand. Sale's 'Sharks' ethos really shines through as part of Samurai's chosen designs within their larger kit template and the symmetrical patterns on the shirt, shorts and socks looks great.
I'm not sold on the hi-vis yellow as a primary colour and the crescent chest design feels unnecessary but perhaps I'll be swayed when the kit makes its physical debut next month.
What do you make of the new away kit? Love it, hate it, don't really care? Tweet and follow @SharkTankRugby for further analysis and opinions on all things Sale Sharks.