Rugby Gear – get your kit on!
Tradition plays a big part in rugby but there has been many changes to the rugby gear worn by modern players in the professional game. Some are due to technology and some are due to changes to the rugby rules.
Rugby gear materials and styles may be quite different but the colours and designs worn by club and international teams such as the Leicester Tigers and the All Blacks echo back to the earliest days of the sport. USA Rugby teams play in red, white and blue of course.
Basic rugby gear comprises a rugby jersey, shorts, socks, boots and a rugby ball.
Rugby Gear: Rugby Jerseys
When you compare current rugby jerseys and shorts with those of even 10 years ago the change is quite dramatic. Originally loose fitting with long sleeves and collars, the clothing has gradually got tighter and shorter until today where they are so fitted that it is increasingly difficult to get a bind in the scrum.
The close form of the rugby shirts also makes it more difficult to grip a player in a tackle so this change in styles has had an impact on results too. Wearing incorrect rugby gear can get your team a penalty too under the laws of the game. Rugby rules state a player can leave the rugby field to change their clothes is they are blood stained but must change on the pitch if their shorts are ripped.
Rugby Gear: Rugby Shorts
Rugby shorts have also become tighter and shorter overtime. When lifting was introduced to the rugby rules for lineouts in the 1980s, their strength also became a factor as the lifters used the shorts to support their team mate in jumps.
Rugby Gear: Rugby Boots
Rugby boots have become lighter through time. The studs or rugby cleats help players grip the surface during play, giving the player a solid base from which to drive forward and defend. Rugby socks are perhaps the least changed of all the rugby gear players wear and many teams still wear the long colourful striped designs that the founders of their teams chose.
Rugby Gear: Rugby Ball
The Rugby Ball comes in a range of sizes, each designed for a specific age or type of rugby.
Modern balls are made from synthetic materials rather than the original leather and come in a wide range of colours and feature logos or straplines for teams or sponsors.
Weighted training balls are also available to help strengthen and improve technique. Players can wear mitts (fingerless gloves) to help grip the ball during play.
There is no known value in the Big Ball which featured at this years USA Sevens in Vegas – its just fun!
Rugby Gear: Protective Equipment
Unlike American Football a rugby player wears little protective gear. Some wear limited shoulder and shin protection but in the main most players will only use scrum caps or mouth guards when on the field.
Scrum caps are worn to protect the ears of the players when in scrum formation. Because of the intense pressure exerted during a rugby scrum injuries are common and during ruck and mauls opponents and team mates boots can go astray in the scramble for the ball so the caps also help to protect players on the ground.
Mouth guards protect the players teeth, gums and helps prevent the player biting their tongue so is an essential bit of equipment.