Why Wales and Ireland Six Nations clash will never be the same again

World

Wales and Ireland face each other in a Six Nations match wearing their traditional plain red and green shirts for the final time on Saturday – as rules come in to help colour blind supporters.

Colour vision deficiency (CVD) is a particular issue for men – with one in 12 carrying the condition – while one in 200 women are also affected globally.

The red-green combination is a particular issue for those watching with the condition, but World Rugby regulations coming into force from January next year will address this issue.

All teams in the Six Nations will be told to avoid kit clashes that could negatively impact spectators and television viewers with CVD.

“Kit colour clashes do change the way you watch a game, and I have absolute empathy with those whose enjoyment is affected as a result,” Welsh Rugby Union chief executive Abi Tierney said.

Six Nations guidance will state visiting teams should wear change kits where a colour match has been identified.

This means Ireland would wear a change strip in Cardiff next year, if both kits remained the same.

Image:
Pic: Reuters

Wales’s current change strip is black, and that would not have averted the problem at the Aviva Stadium in Dublin on Saturday.

“Our current alternate kit is black, and we have used green in the recent past,” Ms Tierney said.

“Neither of these examples particularly help with this issue, and additionally, the colour red in Wales is not just traditional, but a part of our culture.”

But there are other ways to work around the issues, she added, and kits with “significantly different designs” can help avoid the problem.

Image:
Pic: Reuters

If one team is in checks and the other is in stripes, for example, then colours become “pretty irrelevant”, she said.

“But we are thinking hard about a solution that works for everyone,” she added.

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“We recognise that this is a serious issue for many fans, and we are taking it very seriously ourselves.

“It is regrettable that we haven’t reached a resolution to suit all this season, but I can confirm we are fully committed to correcting that in the next kit cycle.”

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