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What Do Rugby Players Wear?

author image Sancho M. Panza
Sancho Panza is a freelance health and outdoors writer. She has written for various online publications and is an avid hiker and rock climber.
What Do Rugby Players Wear?
Rugby players wear minimal gear. Photo Credit Thinkstock Images/Stockbyte/Getty Images

Rugby is a very aggressive contact sport. Unlike other contact sports, particularly football, rugby players wear a minimum of gear. Rugby players, or ruggers, worldwide wear essentially the same pieces of equipment. There are no helmets or pads, only uniforms, cleats and mouth guards. These few items are important elements of the sport, both functionally and culturally.

Scrum Shorts

Rugby players wear short, stiff shorts called scrum shorts. Scrum shorts are less stretchy and more durable than soccer shorts, to withstand the wear and tear of tackling and grabbing. They generally end above the knee and have no pockets. They fit tightly around the waist to prevent them from getting pulled down.


Rugby players wear jerseys very similar to soccer jerseys, except that they usually have collars. They are traditionally made of cotton, but may be made of other materials. Rugby jerseys tend to be very colorful, displaying the colors or emblem of the team or country. The player's number is printed on the back of the jersey in large font. The number helps to identify the player and his position. Rugby players must tuck their jerseys into their shorts during games.

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Forgo flash for comfort. Whether you're flat-footed or have a high arch, it's important to be fitted by a professional. You also have to consider your position in the game when buying boots. As a forward, you'll need extra protection around the ankle; while kickers want a boot that will allow them to feel the ball. Choose between leather and synthetic, or a combination of both; they all have something in their favor. It depends on what you prefer.


Ruggers wear knee-high socks that fit tightly around the feet and calves. Rugby socks often are decorated with the same colors as the player's jersey. Rugby socks must be well-fitted to avoid blisters and prevent them from falling down during matches.

Mouth Guard

Though rugby players disdain pads and helmets, they do wear mouth guards. Mouth guards help protect against concussions, broken teeth and other mouth and head injuries common to the game.

Scrum Caps

Some ruggers, especially forwards, wear scrum caps. A scrum cap is simply a slightly padded helmet that fits over the top of the head and ears. It is the only protective piece of equipment that ruggers wear other than mouth guards — and it is completely optional. Some ruggers vehemently reject the scrum cap while others embrace it as a useful piece of gear.

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