Highlanders: fans see red over new colour of kit

2011-06-01 00:00

DUNEDIN — The Highlanders have angered fans by announcing they will unveil a new playing jersey on Friday, coinciding with their last Super Rugby match on their famous home ground of Carisbrook.

Highlanders fans won’t see the team’s new colour scheme until they run out for Friday’s match against Australia’s Western Force. But local media reports the team will shelve its traditional colours of blue, gold and maroon and will play from now on in emerald green.

Since Super Rugby began in 1996, the Highlanders have played in the composite colours of their constituent rugby unions, Otago, Southland and North Otago. Fans say the new jersey flouts tradition, but Highlanders general manager Roger Clark says the Dunedin-based team has no tradition of its own.

Clark said the Highlanders have only existed since 1996 and did not draw on the same traditions as the much older Otago and Southland unions. He said the franchise wants to attract new fans and research has shown the new jersey would help it do so.

“We needed to change everything and that includes the jersey,” Clark told the Otago Daily Times. “We are really conscious we are going into a new stadium next year and we want to help showcase it to the world,” he added.

Carisbrook is the venerable Dunedin stadium which has hosted major rugby matches since 1883. From next year, the team will move to a newly built stadium in north Dunedin.

The Highlanders will play their last two away matches in this year’s Super Rugby in their old jersey before reverting to their new colour scheme permanently from next season.

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