Update - January 2014
The Law as explained below is still in place. However, the IRB is currently (early 2014) trialing a set of goggles that are allowable. USA Rugby is participating in this trial.
Full information on this trial is available at IRBPlayerWelfare.com/Goggles
The key points are:
- This Trial Variation allows only one particular set of goggles, which is made by Raleri.
- The purpose of the Rugby Goggles is to allow a player to wear corrective lenses. It is not designed to provide protection.
- To purchase Rugby Goggles a player needs to apply for permission from the IRB. This includes a letter from an ophthalmologist indicating the need for goggles and the player must agree to provide feedback on the goggles as part of the trial.
- When approved the player will be given an access code which will allow the purchase of one set of Rugby Goggles. The player will then need to have their personal ophthalmologist fit the goggles with lenses.
Rugby Goggles are the only form of goggles allowed and will carry the IRB logo. All the referee needs to do at the equipment check is confirm the logo is on the goggles.
Basic Law on Eye-Wear
Goggles, eye-glasses or any other form of eyewear other than contact lenses are not permitted under current Law.
Both the adult game and all forms of youth rugby are underpinned by the Laws of the Game as framed by the International Rugby Board. Law 4 covers Players' Clothing and other equipment.
Section 4.1 contains a list of all approved items (beyond the standard shirt, shorts, socks and boots). This lists every additional item that may be lawfully worn.
Section 4.4 contains a list of banned items. It is not complete or exclusive. In other words, the fact that a particular item is not on the list does not imply that the item is therefore lawful. 4.4 (g) specifically says that a player cannot wear “any other item which does not conform with the IRB Specifications for such clothing (Regulation 12). Remember that in the definition for Law 4, “clothing” is “anything players wear”.
The IRB is currently (fall of 2013) studying materials that possibly might be suitable for goggles that could legally be worn when playing.