World Rugby adjusts uniform policy to be more inclusive

World Rugby is progressing an inclusive uniform policy which is threatening to scupper the spectacle of All Blacks and Springbok clashes with both teams in their traditional rugby jerseys.

To accommodate for more than 300 million people worldwide with colour vision deficiency or colour blindness, World Rugby is asking international teams to wear either light or dark playing strips from 2025.

But South African Rugby has written to the sport's governing body indicating it does not feel comfortable swapping its bottle green jersey for white in games against the All Blacks.

While the radical change is expected in two years time, World Rugby has begun working with nations to avoid colour clashes at this year's World Cup, including Australia, with the Wallabies to wear a white top against Portugal at the pinnacle event in France.

South African Rugby Union president Rian Oberholzer said the proud rugby nation was resisting the call to wear an alternate strip.

"While SA Rugby supports World Rugby's ambition to make rugby as inclusive as possible, we have serious reservations about the potential impacts the application of the colour blindness regulations may have, and believe they need further interrogation," SARU chief executive Rian Oberholzer told the Daily Maverick.

"For instance, it would mean that the Springboks and All Blacks would never meet again with both in their primary colours at any World Rugby event."

Last year World Rugby said it was committed to providing a "global sport for all" and was keen to make the game accessible to everyone who wishes to participate in it, whether as a player, coach, match official, administrator, volunteer or fan.

Meanwhile former Scotland captain Chris Paterson, who suffers from colour vision deficiency, provided a testimony to support the guidelines.

"I remember playing at night-time when we played for Edinburgh and Scarlets would come up in their dark red," Paterson said.

"I remember a couple of times making a line-break on a counter attack, running into what I thought was space between two of my own men and just getting [tackled].

"Your focus is on the ball, you're running and scanning the whole time... [it's] because there's not that real clear division in our eyes, I suppose."

With potential ramifications on how often the All Blacks can wear their iconic jersey, New Zealand Rugby has been contacted for comment.