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Rugby and Canterbury

I’ve covered the mecca that Washington DC proved to be as a hotbed for hardcore and punk as part of this series before, however, missed to shed light onto one of my favourite releases from the 1980s era, i.e. the vitally important split LP of the short-lived bands The Faith and Void.

While The Faith channelled a leaner version of their 70ies punk roots and infused them with their idiosyncratic melodic and emotionally tinged edge to hint at what later on evolved in form of bands like Rites of Spring, Void was the wonderfully mayhemic and chaotic counterpart.

To this day Void remains one of my favourite hardcore bands as ever since I first heard them, their dissatisfaction with the status quo of suburbia resonated with me, especially as a juvenile delinquent. While I loved sports like soccer, Void’s “Organized Sports” nailed it as far as my sentiments of jock like behaviour and elitist club culture were concerned.

On the German front, Karl Nagel’s attempt at channelling his own version of the Bad Brains with his first band Preussens Gloria delivered the Teutonic equivalent with their “Rugby” 7”.

Funnily, it the same year that I acquired the aforementioned sarcastic “Rugby” 7”, I was introduced to one of the variants of gridiron football during a school trip to Edinburgh. While I was sceptical and dismissive, once I immersed myself in the game, I fell in love with the game not merely for the resilience and strength building benefits but for the camaraderie, team effort and sense of togetherness it fostered.

Fast forward two decades and I found myself in a country where rugby union is hardwired into its national psyche, i.e. New Zealand.

Through local contacts I was lucky enough to be invited to participate training sessions of local teams in Auckland, Wellington and Christchurch plus I witnessed New Zealand’s national team, the awe inspiring All Blacks incarnate on home turf, of which all players need to have their Māori ancestry verified before selection in the team.

These impressive experiences only deepened my appreciation for the sport, which I eventually commenced on terra australis.

Gear-wise, a rugged and uncompromising sport like rugby demands crafted products that are built to last, which I found represented in the brand known as Canterbury.

While I found other sports brands to look fashionable, Canterbury’s point of difference has always been that they invest the time to investigate the nature of rugby in a borderline forensic manner and learn directly from the players as to what is needed on the pitch.

The result of Canterbury’s investment in precisely crafted gear culminates in technical innovations like layered bases, loop necks and rubber buttons, which are not only geared towards optimisation of performance but have become an integral component of their product range, while still preserving a respect for the history, DNA and tradition of the sport.

With Canterbury’s collection expanding beyond match day gear for rugby, I found their training kits with their focus on comfort and freedom of movement to be optimal for other sports as well and, e.g. for running and gym related exercise.

The fact that Canterbury’s designs are easy on the eye and stylish in a contemporary sense without falling prey to the necessity to create loud and declamatory designs does not hurt either, au contraire - their subtle casual range lends itself well to be worn in public without running danger of looking like a chav.

Essentially , Canterbury and the gear they produce caters to every facet of the community and thereby embodies the inclusiveness not only of rugby, but the essence of qualities that bands like Void set out to fight for.


T • July 24, 2021

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