Thursday, December 15, 2016 7:55AM
Western Force have gone back to the future, borrowing from the design and shade of blue of their foundation year for their 2017 Super Rugby jumper.
They unveiled the new jumper yesterday as they announced that engineering and project services contractor Clough has re-signed as a sponsor for the next three years.
Force chief executive Mark Sinderberry said the return to the original style was a deliberate move.
“It shows respect for the past and provides us with strong direction moving forward,” Sinderberry said.
“There have been a number of variations through the years and getting back to the original jumper was important.”
New captain Ben McCalman said the move was important to the team.
“It’s important to remember the players that have been here, that we still represent them every time we play. It’s great to have it back,” McCalman said.
For the past three seasons the Force had individual sponsors for the front of jumpers, $50,000 for each starting number and $25,000 for each of the reserves, after Emirates pulled out of its naming-rights contract worth about $1 million a year.
The individual sponsors have now been moved to the back of the jumper with the club hopeful of signing a naming-rights sponsor for the front.
Sinderberry also said re-signing Clough, which has been a sponsor for the last three years, was another step towards showing the Australian Rugby Union the Force were financially viable. Super Rugby is under review by governing body SANZAAR amid speculation that the Force could be cut after the 2017 season if the ARU is forced to cull one of its five sides.
Sinderberry also said more than 4500 expressions of interest had been received in the “Own The Force” campaign to turn them into Australia’s premier fan-owned club.
The plan is to issue at least 5000 certificates of ownership costing $1000 each.
“We are making strides but we haven’t solved all the problems,” Sinderberry said.