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What do rugby players wear?

As contact sports go, rugby is particularly aggressive. However, the gear worn by players is minimal. The equipment traditionally used in rugby remains the same the world over – cleats, mouth guards and a simple uniform. No pads or helmets here! However, the items rugby players do wear are quite important in terms of functional and cultural significance.

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Scrum Shorts

Scrum shorts are more durable and less stretchy than the shorts worn for football. They are stiff and short and made to withstand the constant wear and tear caused by the grabbing and tackling throughout the game. They typically end just above the knee and are tight around the waist so they are not easily pulled down.



Rugby players wear collared cotton jerseys. They are usually very colourful, displaying the country or team emblem. Each player will have their number printed on the reverse of the shirt. Jerseys are traditionally tucked in during play.


The boots players wear will vary depending upon their individual position within the team. Forwards will require extra ankle protection, and kickers a boot which is light enough that they are able to feel the ball. Synthetic, leather or a combination of the two are the norm, but in the end it is down to personal preference. In any case, it is important players are advised by a professional when selecting footwear.


Rugby players wear socks which fit tightly around the calves and feet. They will be knee-high and designed in the same colours as the jersey. Properly fitting socks are essential to avoid blisters and to ensure they do not fall down during play.

Mouth Guards

A properly fitted mouth guard is one of the few safety items worn by rugby players. These are important as they protect against broken teeth and concussions, both very common injuries. If you are considering taking up rugby or participating in rugby drills for fitness (https://www.sportplan.net/drills/Rugby/), make sure you invest in a mouth guard.

Scrum Cap

Another piece of safety equipment which is worn by some players, the scrum cap is a padded helmet worn to cover and protect the head and ears. Some players feel it is a valuable piece of equipment, while others reject it vehemently. It remains optional, so wearing it is entirely down to personal choice.