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In rugby, as soon as the game went professional, logos and motifs started appearing all over shirts and shorts of clubs looking to cash in on the growing exposure the sport was attracting.
Teams with no sponsors on their jerseys are few and far between these days.
Though Barcelona only signed their first corporate shirt deal last year and West Ham also went sponsorless in 2008—after the collapse of the company paying for their name on the shirt—it is something of a throwback to see the Lions of South Africa go about their Super Rugby business with naught but a blank, red expanse on their players’ chests.
Of course, it often means a club is having trouble attracting sponsors. The Golden Lions Rugby Union, the body represented by the men in red in the competition, saw its deal with its main sponsor end in December 2013, and no new name has yet been announced.
Nevertheless, it hasn’t stopped Johan Ackermann’s men from winning two of their first three games. They lost last week against the highly rated Sharks, but they will bounce back this weekend against the Blues of Auckland.
Sir John Kirwan’s boys were beaten by the Bulls in the first game of their South African tour and suffered a blow with the loss of All Blacks hooker Keven Mealamu to a calf injury.
Benji Marshall gets his first start, but they will get another beating from the Johannesburg outfit in round 5, to make it just one win in four.