Wales and Ireland embrace World Rugby initiative to help colour-blind fans

World Rugby announced new measures will ban red-green kit clashes from the 2027 Rugby World cup onwards, with both Wales and Ireland seemingly open to the changes

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Gavin Williamson confuses Marcus Rashford with Maro Itoje

The unions representing Welsh and Irish Rugby have responded positively to the announcement that red-green kit clashes will be outlawed from 2027 in an effort to aid colour blind fans.

It’s estimated that around eight per cent of men are affected by red-green colour blindness, while the ratio is much lower for women, affecting around only one in 200.

It’s commonplace for teams to change into away kits or other alternatives when facing teams accustomed to playing in the same colours.

World Rugby announced earlier this week that red-green clashes would not be permitted as of the 2027 Rugby World Cup, but there could be scope for teams to embrace the change even sooner.

A spokesperson for the Irish Rugby Football Union (IRFU) told i it will look to “gather information” to gain a better understanding of the situation after renewing an agreement with kit sponsor Canterbury last year.

Wales and Ireland are open to change after World Rugby announced new measures to avoid red-green kit clashes


Brian Lawless/PA Wire)

“The IRFU are committed to inclusivity,” they said. “We work in two-year kit cycles and have just entered a new cycle so we will use this time to gather more information on this matter from World Rugby.”

Ireland and Wales‘s men’s teams already face off at least once per year in the Six Nations, while their women’s and under-20s counterparts also face off in their equivalent competitions.

The colour blind conversation also pertains to countries like South Africa and Tonga, who play in green and red, respectively.

A Welsh Rugby Union representative also gave a glowing review of plans to address the topic and told i: “The Welsh Rugby Union is extremely proud of its work on inclusion and in disability rugby where it remains a key strategic aim to increase and enhance regular engagement and participation, across all ages, formats and competitions.

Do you think World Rugby should introduce its kit-clash mandate earlier than 2027? Let us know in the comments section.

Colour blind fans will have struggled to keep up during the British and Irish Lions tour of South Africa


AFP via Getty Images)

“Our plan is to grow, develop and enhance the offer of rugby union in Wales by modifying the ­traditional approach and ensuring we are inclusive and engaging to all people and communities and this new approach from World Rugby is one we welcome and look forward to ­hearing more about.”

The Springboks beat the British and Irish Lions (who play in red) 2-1 during their summer series, when many fans affected by colour blindness would have found it difficult to keep up with the action.

A deadline of 2027 gives teams plenty of time to align their kit selection as required, though some might say six years is too long a wait with almost 10 per cent of male fans potentially affected.

Wales and Ireland will face off in the opening match of the 2022 Six Nations on February 5


Sportsfile via Getty Images)

The unions weren’t alone in their positive feedback, either, as Six Nations lawmakers opened the possibility for new legislation on the matter to be introduced.

“Six Nations Rugby is committed to ensuring that as many people can enjoy our championships and the game of rugby as is possible,” a spokesperson for the competition told i.

“We note World Rugby’s initiative to help people with colour vision ­deficiency enjoy rugby more fully.”

Wales are due to host reigning world champions South Africa at the Principality Stadium on November 6, one of those fixtures where the kits will likely hamper the experience for those with colour blindness.

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