No one likes playing rugby when it’s freezing or raining and the field is covered in mud but can you wear leggings to protect against the cold?
Can Rugby Players Wear Leggings?
Adult male rugby players can not wear leggings during a match but all female players and junior male players under the age of 18 can wear leggings or tights. All players can wear leggings at rugby training.
With the explosion in popularity of compression gear and every second person in the gym rocking tights, it’s easy to understand why rugby players would want to also join in on the action.
Unfortunately for adult male rugby players they can not wear leggings during matches. This is explicitly laid in the RFU’s rule book. They are allowed to wear short compression shorts that finish above the knee. But any compression gear that touches the knee is prohibited.
While adult male rugby players may not be able to wear tights or leggings during a rugby match they can still wear them at training. Most coaches have no problem with their players wearing tights especially if it is a cold day. However, you may have to deal with some jokes from your teammates unless of course you are a winger!
Female rugby players are often disadvantaged compared to their male counterparts when it comes to salaries, sponsorship deals and crowd attendance. However, one aspect where female rugby players have an advantage over male players is there ability to wear tights during matches.
The RFU rules state that female players of all age are allowed to wear tights. Referees have some level of discretion and can determine whether or not certain style of tights are suitable. Standard compression leggings will usually be fine.
It isn’t just female rugby players who get special treatment when it comes to the leggings department. Male rugby players under the age of 18 are also permitted to wear leggings during a rugby match. Again referees have some discretion but if they determine it is cold enough then they will usually allow junior players to wear them.
Do Leggings Improve Rugby Performance?
Leggings do not improve rugby performance. They provide a little bit of support to athletes and slightly increase mobility by stimulating blood flow. These effects are very minor and do not noticeably boost performance.
Compression gear brands love to make bold claims about their tops and leggings but they won’t help you much on the rugby pitch.
At best they will keep you a little warmer during a cold training session. However, if you are feeling cold out on the rugby pitch maybe you just need to work a little harder.
Compression leggings do provide a little support to rugby player’s legs but nowhere nears as much as strapping. The support is very minimal.
The leggings can slightly increase a rugby player’s mobility but again the effect is minor and a few extra minutes of stretching before training or a match will yield better results.
Why Are Leggings Banned In Rugby?
Leggings are banned in rugby because they give the attacking player an advantage as they make it harder to tackle. Leggings also go against the standard rugby uniform of shirt, shorts, underwear and socks.
Since the early days of rugby, the agreed upon uniform has been jersey, shorts, underwear, and socks. Rugby doesn’t like to change the rules too frequently and has decided to keep the old school uniform. Any other items of clothing include leggings are not permitted.
The major reason that the uniform rule in rugby has not been altered to accommodate the wearing of leggings is because it gives the attacking player an unfair advantage.
A rugby player wearing leggings is more difficult to tackle as the slick material makes it easy for defenders to slide off when they are wrapping their arms around the attacking player’s legs.