Body Protection

Body Protection

As well as light helmets, shoulder padding and protective vests are increasingly being worn. The nature and maximum amount of the protective measures available are stipulated the International Rugby Board.

This specifies that:

  • shoulder padding will cover the shoulder and collar bone only and extend from the neck to a maximum of 2 cm down the upper arm.
    • The padding is intended to give some protection to the bony prominences of the shoulder and clavicle. Padding on the chest and biceps are expressly forbidden (although permitted in Rugby League).
    • All padded vests for use in rugby union must carry an IRB approval logo.


  • Women players may also wear chest pads, also of soft, thin material. This is typically worn as part of a shoulder pad vest.
  • Players may use fingerless gloves (also known as “mitts”) to better grip the ball.
  • Shin guards may also be worn under the socks, but only made of non-rigid fabric. Hard plastic or metal are prohibited in rugby kit.
  • Any protective equipment that may cause injury to another player is prohibited.
    • No form of metal is allowed in any rugby kit, except for studs on boots.
    • Spectacles are prohibited for play;
    • players may alternatively wear contact lenses.