It's All About the Jersey: A history of 20 years of Ospreys home shirts

by David Brayley


‘It was 20 years ago today, Sergeant Pepper taught the band to play’…

The Beatles, of course. And those of us of a certain age, when we hear that line, instantly think of Sir Peter Blake’s incredible cover design of the Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band album, with its array of stars from Bob Dylan to Dylan Thomas, Marlon Brando to Marilyn Monroe, and Sonny Liston to Laurel and Hardy. But the image that really stands out from the iconic cover is of the multi-coloured uniforms of the Beatles…their kit, if you will.

You see, despite the brilliance of the music contained within the album, many believe that the imagery of the album cover was utterly integral to its ultimate success. And so it is with sport: seasons come and go, much like players and coaches, and the success of those players and coaches is often inextricably linked by the fans to what they wore.

Their kit.

Much like people can’t think of the Beatles’ Sgt. Pepper album without visualising the boys in their colourful uniforms, so Ospreys fans can’t think of Jerry Collins without the gold flashes on his black Ospreys jersey or Filo Tiatia marauding across the pitch, ball tucked under the arm of his black jersey with white piping and matching stripes. The kit matters, and the Ospreys have had plenty of iconic ones.

So, continuing the Beatles link, and with apologies to Lennon and McCartney: ‘It was 20 years ago today, when the Ospreys first began to play’. To celebrate the 20th anniversary of the formation of the Ospreys back in 2003, I’ve been asked to take you on a trip down memory lane by doing a deep dive into the home kits worn by the likes of Gibbs and Gough, Henson and Hook, Tipuric and Terblanche, and so many others. I’ll be creating a sort of Ospreys fashionista timeline of home kit design, backed up by the players that wore them and the occasions they graced.

I hope you enjoy this light-hearted sartorial glance back at our home kit’s history. I wonder how many jerseys you remember, and more to the point, how many you might still have at the back of your cupboard? You never know, one or two might be worth a couple of quid by now!


It's All About the Jersey
A history of 20 years of Ospreys home shirts