New Spex—IRB Approves Goggles Trial

Posted: January 23, 2014 at 2:50 am

Photo: IRB

Press Release (January 22, 2014)-Underscoring its commitment to ensuring Rugby is a Game for all while promoting player welfare, the IRB has approved a global trial whereby approved Rugby Goggles can be worn in all levels of Rugby.

The new Rugby Goggles, which are available for purchase from today (Wednesday, January 22), have been developed to enable people who require corrective lenses to wear goggles that are safe to themselves, their team-mates and opponents. They will also allow people with monocular vision or chronic eye conditions who wish to wear Rugby Goggles while playing contact Rugby.

IRB Head of Technical Services Steve Griffiths said: “Rugby is a Game for all and the IRB recognises that not everyone who needs corrective glasses can wear contact lenses, particularly children, so we have been collaborating with a leading manufacturer to design and rigorously test a pair of Rugby Goggles that will be safe and effective in a Rugby environment. We believe we have done that now and this trial is good news for anyone with eyesight issues who wishes to play the Game.”

The approved Rugby Goggles are not designed to provide extra protection for players with chronic eye conditions, but if such players consider them to be beneficial they can be worn for that purpose. Features of the approved Rugby Goggles include high-speed impact resistance, anti-abrasion surfaces, anti-fogging, UV protection and a specially designed strap with no clips, buckles or sharp edges. Only those Rugby Goggles bearing the IRB trial-approved logo can be worn with referees empowered to make the necessary checks.

The global law trial means that anyone can wear the Rugby Goggles once confirmation has been received from an ophthalmologist (or similar medical professional) although Unions are required to participate in the trial before a player under its jurisdiction can participate in the trial.

“If the trial is to be instructive, we will require feedback from all participants about the Rugby Goggles so all participants will be requested to provide feedback during and at the end of the trial,” said Griffiths.

The approved Rugby Goggles are not available in retail outlets. They can be purchased direct from the manufacturer’s website – – and only after registration on the IRB Passport system. This is to ensure that everyone who uses them will be in the system for providing feedback on the trial.

It is only through that feedback that the IRB can gather enough information to ascertain the longer-term suitability of Rugby Goggles for use in Rugby beyond the lifetime of the trial. Full details can be found here.

  • ROH

    Will googles stay on at the bottom of a ruck?

    On another note, I suggest less protection, not more! Lack of protective gear ensures self regulation of dangerous play. Scrum caps were intended to protect the ears of scrummagers but now have become all too commonplace on the heads of flyhalfs, wings and fullbacks. Not only are backs wearing caps, the caps have additional padding. All this leads to more dangerous play not less. Flying hard into a tackle or ruck with your scrum cap may protect your head but pity the other poor bloke’s head, ribs, shoulder or neck. As players become bigger and stronger, the way to prevent injuries is not add padding but to change and in force the laws. For instance, at the breakdown, players should be required to bind. More and more often today we see players hurtling themselves in or over the ruck without any intention of binding to clear out opposing players. Like in NFL football, it is usually the unsuspecting recipient of the hit or block who gets injured.