Body Armour for Rugby Football is all tested and approved by the IRB and if you purchase it make sure it carries the IRB mark. There are many varieties of equipment allowed such as elbow, wrist and knee supports or guards these are made of elasticised materials to fit a multitude of sizes some will have a percentage of solid impact resistance but this must be sown in and not present a danger to opponents. By far the most used item are the shoulder pads or vest containing shoulder pads some also have a panel which protects the chest. This equipment is now manufactured specifically for the female players as well as men.
Evolution of Rugby Protection
The shoulder pads worn in early times were originally made of leather stitched and worn under the shirt. These were quickly outlawed as they were soon found to be dangerous. The nearest to body protection for many years was to have padding sown into the shoulders of shirts. This tended to be only put into the shirts numbered 1 to 5 worn by the front and second rows.
Flexible plastics and polymers have now moved the technology forward and rather like the gum shields a degree of shock absorption can be credited to the latest designs available.
There are many other types of equipment available but perhaps the most common used are the gloves. These are usually a mesh material and do not have ends to the fingers so perhaps a better description is mitts. They are used partly to keep the hands warm in cold weather. But more often when the weather is wet to aid gripping the ball.