Rugby Union - Equipment

Equipment

The most basic items of equipment for a game of rugby union are the ball itself, a rugby shirt (also known as a "jersey"), rugby shorts, socks and boots. The rugby ball is oval in shape, (technically a prolate spheroid), and is made up of four panels. The ball was historically made of leather, but in the modern era most games use a ball made from a synthetic material. The IRB lays out specific dimensions for the ball, 280-300mm in length, 740-770mm in circumference of length and 580-620mm in circumference of width. Rugby boots have soles with studs to allow grip on the turf of the pitch. The studs may be either metal or plastic but must not have any sharp edges or ridges.

Protective equipment is optional and strictly regulated. The most common items are mouthguards, which are worn by almost all players, and are compulsory in some rugby-playing nations. Other protective items that are permitted include a head gear; thin (not more than 10 mm thick), non-rigid shoulder pads, and shin guards; which are worn underneath socks. Bandages or tape can be worn to support or protect injuries; some players wear tape around the head to protect the ears in scrums and rucks. Female players may also wear chest pads. Although not worn for protection, some types of fingerless mitts are allowed to aid grip.

It is the responsibility of the match officials to check players' clothing and equipment before a game to ensure that it conforms to the laws of the game.

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