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South Wales Evening Post column, February 16, 2024

Robert Lloyd PR, Media and Marketing Consultancy News, Newspaper columns South Wales Evening Post column, February 16, 2024

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South Wales Evening Post column, February 16, 2024

Posted By RobertLloyd58

MY grandfather must have had the gift of looking into the future when he left me a treasured World War Two metal helmet.

He knew the steel ‘Mark II No 2’ Home Guard headwear would come in handy for a journalist willing to suggest radical ideas.

The helmet will be close at hand as I retreat to my bunker after completing this week’s column, which revolves around a story I originally thought was an early April Fool’s Day joke.

Apparently, the 2024 Six Nations clash between Ireland and Wales next week will be the final time the two nations face off in their traditional kit colours.

The green of Ireland and the red of Wales is a massive clash for colour-blind supporters. So, changes are needed.

It’s at this point that I reach for the steel helmet and fail to resist the opportunity to recite the famous quote by snooker commentator Ted Lowe, who remarked, “and for those of you who are watching in black and white, the pink is next to the green.”

The temptation to suggest Wales and Ireland retain their patriotic colours is one to be resisted, of course, as the issue of colour blindness is very serious (and, naturally, I sympathise with any sufferers).

Colour blindness (colour vision deficiency, or CVD) affects approximately one in 12 men (8%) and one in 200 women.

In the UK, there are approximately three million colour blind people (about 4.5% of the entire population), most of whom are male.

For most colour blind people, the condition is genetic and is usually inherited from their mother. Experts reckon that some people become colour blind as a result of other diseases such as diabetes and multiple sclerosis. Ageing, drugs and medications may be other factors.

According to the Colour Blind Awareness website, being ‘red/green colour blind’ means people can easily confuse any colours which have some red or green as part of the whole colour.

So, someone with red/green colour blindness is likely to confuse blue and purple because they can’t ‘see’ the red element of the colour purple.

Problems can arise across the entire colour spectrum, potentially affecting perception of all reds, greens, oranges, browns, purples, pinks and greys. Even black can be confused as dark red, dark green or dark blue/purple.

The red-green combination should no longer be a problem after next week’s Dublin clash between the countries.

World Rugby regulations will come into force in January next year, and they aim to assist those with CVD.

The Six Nations tournament will adopt the new regulations, with all teams mandated to avoid kit clashes that could negatively impact spectators and television viewers suffering from CVD.

“Kit colour clashes do change the way you watch a game, and I have absolute empathy with those whose enjoyment is affected as a result,” Welsh Rugby Union chief executive Abi Tierney said this week.

“Our current alternate kit is black, and we have used green in the recent past. Neither of these examples particularly help with this issue, and additionally, the colour red in Wales is not just traditional, but a part of our culture.

“But there are other ways to work around the issues, and kits with significantly different designs can help avoid the problem, too.

“We need to think laterally about how we can overcome the issue ahead of next year, perhaps not just with more inventive use of colours, but in our kit designs, too.

“If one team is in checks and the other is in stipes, for example, then colours become pretty irrelevant, but we are thinking hard about a solution that works for everyone.

“We recognise that this is a serious issue for many fans, and we are taking it very seriously ourselves.”

Ms Tierney has summed up the problem very well, recognising the important of the colour red in our Welsh culture and national identity.

So, to help the Welsh Rugby Union find a solution which appeases both CVD sufferers and passionate Welsh rugby supporters, I have the answer.

Reaching again for my steel helmet for safety reasons, can I suggest we look to history for the solution.

Owain Glyndŵr is the most famous Welshman from the late Middle Ages – a leader, lawyer, soldier and military commander who was the last native-born Welshman to claim the title Prince of Wales.

He had a banner and coat of arms which is easily adapted into a flag – and can just as easily be adapted into a quartered rugby jersey.

The shirt can retain the red elements to ease the pain for rugby fans who like the traditional colour.

The quarters and the pattern allow for enough of a design change to make it easy for CVD sufferers to recognise who’s who on the rugby pitch.

And there’s the added bonus of dragons – and we Welsh do love dragons.

There are unlikely to be any copyright issues preventing Wales using the warrior’s banner.

And the history lesson of Owain Glyndŵr should be just what we need to stir rugby passions and enable us to go unbeaten in 2025’s Six Nations campaign.

Naturally, I will forfeit any intellectual property rights for giving the WRU a cracking idea.

They can donate my jersey consultancy fees to charity.

It’s win, win all around, I reckon.

Or will I have to reach for Tadcu’s metal helmet and take cover while the rest of you say the idea has left you seeing red?

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Written by RobertLloyd58

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