FRANCE—The Australian rugby team known as “the wallabies” will have to wear white in their world cup game against Portugal. The game will take place in the Geoffroy-Guichard arena in Saint-Étienne on October 1.
Australia traditionally wears gold and green due to an early implementation of a new policy due to come into effect in 2025.
According to The Guardian, “World Rugby has identified seven main areas which can be challenging for people who are color-blind. These are kit clashes, equipment colors, stadium and ticket information, TV coverage, workplace issues and external information such as sponsorship and emergency services.”
“Approximately 1 in 12 men (8%) and 1 in 200 women (0.5%) in the world have some form of color vision deficiency. This means there are approximately 300 million people globally with some form of color blindness,” according to the Color Blind Awareness website.
The new policy would also see New Zealand (black) and South Africa (green/yellow) not allowed to play in their home strips against each other.
“From our perspective, if you’re potentially limiting eight per cent of your male audience, that’s a huge number of people who are suddenly switching off,” said World Rugby’s Research, Turf and Equipment Manager Marc Douglas to The Guardian.
Manchester United famously changed from their grey alternate strip to blue at half time during a Premier League game in 1996. Manager Sir Alex Ferguson said:
“The players don’t like the grey strip. The players couldn’t pick each other out. They said it was difficult to see their team-mates at distance when they lifted their heads. It was nothing to do with superstition.”
Other examples of players blending in with the elements are countless football examples of a player wearing green lying on the ground to accompany a kickoff/punt returner should the backward pass present itself.
The Rugby World Cup starts September 8 at the Stade De France in Paris.