IN A MEMORABLE 1998 episode of “Associates,” Ross Geller (David Schwimmer) agrees to play rugby together with his girlfriend’s burly, British ex-boyfriend to show his “manliness.” He doesn’t precisely win the day. Ross, on unfamiliar turf with the sport, winds up black-eyed, damaged and slumped on the Central Perk couch. The one upside? He will get to put on a yellow-and-navy rugby jersey that renders him passably attractive even when it’s torn and splattered with mud.
Lots of American guys would possibly relate. A scarcity of intimacy with the rough-and-tumble sport hasn’t stopped them from casually sporting rugby shirts over the many years. And all that point—in reality, ever because the mid-to-late 1800s—its template has barely developed: heavy cotton base, contrasting white collar, rubber buttons, horizontal stripes. (Not less than in most off-field variations, not skilled garb.)
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