MERCILESSLY mining the replica kit market is nothing new but it would appear that football can hand over the mantle of making major faux pas.

After the opening round of autumn internationals it would appear that rugby union is not just ready but rampantly eager to take up the baton.

I will start on the shirt front – or more to the point what could end up on the shirt front.

Scotland, in their desire not to clash with the All Blacks, not only gave up their traditional navy blue for something lighter, but decided a ‘saltire’ motif would be a very attractive addition for their fans.

Sadly somewhere in the design process someone spotted you needed a clear space for the shirt sponsors’ logo.

The upshot was that the Scots tried to face down the Haka wearing a top that appeared to include a baby’s bib – they looked like the world’s biggest bunch of toddlers preparing to be fed mashed up rusks rather that a team who could turnover the world’s best players.

A slightly more pragmatic, but equally mystifying, effort was that of the Irish.

To avoid a clash with South Africa’s green they needed a change kit.

In the past they have opted for white tops and green shorts, but could have taken a leaf out of the Scottish book and gone all tricolour with an orange shirt white shorts and green socks.

Instead they opted for black with odd green flashes.

One explanation offered in the match commentary was that black might be a superior seller as it went better with jeans.

To be honest the main advantage of a black shirt at a rugby match in Dublin has to do with spilling things down your shirt front.

Guinness would stain a light coloured shirt but with black you can sigh (put on your best Father Ted voice for this) ‘Ah well, it will perhaps do without washing for just a little longer!’

The thoroughly inexplicable kit change though came at headquarters where for some unknown reason England donned royalish-blue socks as they faced Fiji.

While England have not always worn white socks, it has been the norm over the last decade, and it is hard to imagine that there is a big market for replica socks among rugby union followers.

And Stuart Lancaster and his men should also take heed from the ‘other’ code.

Halifax’s decision to become ‘The Blue Sox’ went down like a lead balloon with the Thrum Hall fans.