The decision for Jack Wills to provide the kit for Oxford and Cambridge rugby teams has met with a mixed response among students.
For the next five years, Jack Wills supply the apparel for the Oxford–Cambridge Varsity match, and the five Oxford representative teams: the Blues, Greyhounds, U21s, Colleges, and Whippets. There is a possibility that they will also supply kit for college rugby teams in the future.
The Varsity Rugby match is features prominently on Jack Wills’ website home page, alongside “The Official Varsity Match After Party” which they are hosting.
Oxford University Press Office distanced itself from the Jack Wills’ branding saying, “The kit was chosen by Oxford and Cambridge for its suitability as rugby apparel, not for its branding.”
Ronnie Lamb, OURFC Chairman, also emphasized that Jack Wills was chosen based on its strengths as a kit provider. He said, “If they can supply us in the quantities that they are committed to on time with the quality that we have contracted for, I think we will be very happy. Likewise, they will be very happy on the basis that they will gain some kudos from the fact they are kitting out the Oxford and Cambridge teams.
“Given that we are going to be supplied by a first class supplier with a very good product I can’t see why we should feel that it is particularly old fashioned or particularly elitist or traditional.”
Rob Campbell Davies, a third year PPEist who played fly half for the Colleges team last season, said, “People in Oxford spend far too much time concerning themselves with stash and far too little time with the sports they are actually supposed to do.
“Having said that if they try and stick any oars, lacrosse sticks, horses, or references back to the colonial era or any of their other ludicrous branding manoeuvres they try and pull, then I will not be happy, and I’d rather wear my gran’s blouse.”
A spokesperson from Jack Wills said, “Jack Wills’ target customer is the British university student and we are therefore delighted to be the official sporting supplier to the 2011 Nomura Varsity Match. Oxford and Cambridge are world class universities and we are proud to be part of this historic sporting event.”
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