Male rugby players given permission to wear tights and leggings

Male rugby players have been given permission to wear tights or leggings to reflect the growing use of artificial pitches.

Edinburgh play on an artificial pitch at their new DAM Health Stadium. Picture: Ross Parker/SNS
Edinburgh play on an artificial pitch at their new DAM Health Stadium. Picture: Ross Parker/SNS

The law change will apply to all levels of the game in a bid to protect players from abrasions.

Edinburgh have moved to a new stadium with artificial turf this season and Glasgow Warriors have played on a 4G surface since 2016.

The pitches are resistant to the worst excesses of the Scottish weather but can cause friction burns.

Women are already allowed to wear tights or leggings and now Law 4 will be altered to also allow male players to do so.

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A statement from the game’s governing body, World Rugby, said: “Players at all levels of rugby will be able to wear tights or leggings for matches after the World Rugby Executive Committee approved an amendment to the laws of the game with immediate effect.

“Currently permissible for women, Law 4 will be extended to all participants with immediate effect, enabling the wearing of tights or leggings that meet criteria outlined under the law.”

World Rugby said change has been made on welfare and accessibility grounds and reflects the growing worldwide use of artificial surfaces at both the elite and community levels.

“With some players susceptible to abrasions on artificial surfaces, the decision gives players the option to wear tights or leggings as a preventative measure, maximising access to the game,” continued the statement.

World Rugby also said it would work with unions and artificial turf providers to ensure that “rigorous best-practice maintenance programmes are observed that minimise the risk of abrasions, particularly in relation to brushing and watering especially in hot conditions”.

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