World Rugby gives the green light ... for goggles

Ian McKinley (Getty Images)
Ian McKinley (Getty Images)

Cape Town - World Rugby has approved a game-changing amendment to the laws of the game that will enable the wearing of goggles at all levels of rugby, reaffirming the sport’s commitment to inclusivity.

According to the World Rugby website, in line with the international federation’s vision of ‘a sport for all’, approval by Council follows a comprehensive law trial, launched in 2014 after World Rugby identified the need to develop a product that paves the way for greater participation in a safe environment.

In partnership with Italy-based eye-wear specialists Raleri, a design was developed to facilitate the inclusion of prescription lenses beyond contact lenses into a device that does not increase the risk of injury to the wearer or to players coming into contact with the wearer.

The successful trial attracted more than 2 000 registrants. The detailed feedback from participants in the trial allowed World Rugby to develop an evidence-based performance specification in partnership with the Ulster University and the University of Bradford in the UK to refine the design of the goggles.

The trial has enabled those with limited or no sight in one eye to participate in the sport more comfortably, as demonstrated by the inspiring story of Italy international Ian McKinley, who became the first wearer of goggles in a senior international. He welcomed the announcement.

World Rugby chairperson Sir Bill Beaumont said: “The approval of this law amendment is a very significant advancement for rugby and for contact sport, and as someone who championed the project from its inception, I am delighted to see goggles become enshrined within our laws.

“This is a strong demonstration of World Rugby’s commitment to game innovation and player welfare, but also our mission to making rugby a more accessible and inclusive sport at all levels.

“This pioneering project was launched to address a specific issue, and with the help of Raleri, Ulster University and the University of Bradford, we have successfully developed a product that will enable more people to play rugby in a safe and comfortable way and we thank all those involved, particularly the players, for their support and passion in making this idea a reality that will transform access to the sport.”

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