Equipment and Kit
From an equipment perspective, very little is required to play rugby union at an amateur level. Your club should provide playing kit of shirts, shorts and socks, and all necessary balls and tackle bags.
It is your responsibility to purchase personal items of kit. Remember rugby is a game of margins so be selective and choose carefully; comfortable boots or suitable body armour could make the difference between injury and winning or losing by that solitary point.
All the top sports brands make rugby kit, as well as the traditional, specialist rugby manufacturers. If you are already a member, talk to your club as they may have an agreement with a manufacturer or supplier to receive a discount on their products.
The International Rugby Board [add link] (IRB) has an extensive list of Approved Equipment [add link ] which is a useful start point for researching the best kit.
Footwear is important to provide comfort, protection and aid performance on the field. Your choice may be dependant on your position; the winger who survives on speed may choose an ultra-lightweight pair to maximse their pace, while the flanker who exists at the bottom of a ruck might choose a durable pair to offer protection to the vulnerable ankles.
Stud length is important for the playing conditions. Longer studs will provide greater traction and control in the mud, but shorter or molded studs will increase your speed across the ground on dry, summer pitches.
Shop around and take advice to ensure you have a comfortable pair.
It is highly recommended that all players wear a mouth guard before going into battle on the pitch or in training. A good quality mouth guard will protect those all important looks, including the teeth, gums and even jaw. Mouth guards made from a dental mould will produce the best fit and thus offer the most protection.
The IRB reported that since mouth guards became compulsory in New Zealand there has been a 47 per cent drop in dental claims – there is no excuse for not wearing one.
Head guards or scrum caps provide protection for the head against soft tissue injuries, which are most likely to be sustained when taking the ball into contact. The contoured and soft padding is made of impact resistant foam but the guards offer little added protection against concussion.
In addition they can provide a sense of comfort and protection, if fitted correctly. Headgear can also guard against the onset of the dreaded ‘cauliflower ear’, the enemy of forwards for many years.
Body armour, expanded from the traditional shoulder pads, will provide some protection from the impact caused by other players. Made of breathable synthetics they specifically offer protection to the shoulders, chest and back.
Useful for shielding the areas in receipt of, and dishing out, the ‘big hits’.