One of the things which has largely fallen by the wayside since rugby went professional in 1995 is elegance.
A much underrated virtue in rugby circles, elegance is something that can help make a great player even greater; a championship winning side a bit more classy and elevate a piece of kit or equipment from something functional to something iconic.
The East Terrace misses many things from rugby’s past (there is plenty we don’t pine for as well) and we thought we’d start a little series to rekindle a few memories and maybe, just maybe (if we can be bothered), campaign to bring them back.
The first example in our ‘Things we Miss’ series is the classic black tipped Adidas rugby ball prominent in the 1970s and 1980s.
It seemed to be popular in France and New Zealand in particular and was often used for Test matches. For those of us raised in the UK seeing the likes of Jean Pierre Rives - covered in his own blood and with golden locks flowing in the wind - running with this ball made everything seem so much more exotic than our own domestic fare.
The East Terrace remembers going on tour to France as a wee nipper back in the late 1980s and being thrilled to play with one of these Adidas balls for the first time. It was also so….so….round. Certainly much rounder than the Mitres and Gilberts used in the UK. Either way it was a thing of elegance.
The ball seemed to fall from favour around 1990/1991 when Adidas won the rights to be official suppliers to the second World Cup and came up with this:
Oh, Adidas, what were/are you thinking? How the mighty have fallen.
Some people believe everything eventually comes back into fashion and we can only hope that when it comes to rugby balls Adidas finally get back on the ball.
Here is one final image to Whetton the appetite:
Tears, idle tears....