Why Do Rugby Players Tape Their Legs?

Last Updated on October 26, 2020 by Daniel Cuttridge

Rugby players tale their legs because it allows them to have a better grip of other players who will be thrown. Taping of legs is mostly done by rugby players that are going to be thrown in line outs. You can also see rugby players put rings of tape around their thighs. They all work for the same function. In this article, we going to talk about the common types of rugby tapes, the use of kinesiology tapes and other rugby essential protective gear. 

In the game of rugby, strapping and tape is used a lot. As a matter of fact, almost all players wear some form of rugby tapes on the field at the professional level during the game. But why are the pros using these tapes and what type do they use. 

Types Of Rugby TapesEssential Rugby Protective Gears
Zinc Oxide TapesGloves
Elastic Adhesive Bandage (EAB)Protective Vests
Kinesiology TapesHeadgear

There are three kinds of Rugby tapes that is commonly used by players. They include: 

1. Zinc Oxide Tape

2. Elastic Adhesive Bandage, EAB

3. Kinesiology Tape 

Your personal preference and the level of support you need will determine the kind of tape you wear. So let’s take a look at each in turn

1. Zinc Oxide Tape

If you’ll need to immobilize a part of your body, Zinc Oxide tap is the best option for you. It helps to provide an unrivalled support since it a non-stretch tape. If you want the one with the best tensile strength, go the Tan/Brown model. 

This type of tape is majorly used in rugby to provide support for body joints like the shoulder, ankle, and knee. It is usually covered by a protective layer so you might not see it on rugby players. 

Functions

1. Thumb & Wrist Support

2. Ankle Strapping

3. Preventing Elbow Hyperextension

4. MCL/Knee Strapping

2. Elastic Adhesive Bandage (EAB)

If you’re talking about the most versatile tape in rugby game kit at, the Elastic Adhesive Bandage cannot be underscored. It is completely versatile and can be used for almost everything, from protecting wrists and thumbs, to providing compression and light support. If you want the one that has a faster taping ability, go for the Tearable model.  This type of tape is lightweight, strong, and completely stretchy. These functions make it suitable for an in-game compression bandage. If you’re wondering what tape is on your favorite rugby player, no doubt, it’s the Elastic Adhesive Bandage. 

Functions

1. Ear protection

2. Provision of light support

3. Compression 

4. Securing lifting blocks 

5. Overwrapping Zinc Oxide applications

6. Wrist and thumb support

3. Kinesiology Tapes 

The main function of this type of tape is to facilitate movement. They move with the body and are completely stretchy, allowing better neutral feedback and delivering dynamic support. Team or bright colors are where you would always see these types of tape. Kinesiology Tapes are the best option for muscular injuries since they are completely useful for neutral feedback. 

Functions

1. Calf taping

2. Adductor taping 

3. Hamstring taping 

4. Lower back taping 

Essential Rugby Protective Gear

Rugby is known to have a violent nature and there is no getting around it. Most rugby veterans will say that you should find another sport if you hate risking serious injury or getting hard hits. Though the injuries sustained in rugby are not as rigorous as the serious injuries sustained in American football, kickboxing, or even boxing, but they are serious enough to need protective gear.  

In the mid-1990s, there was an advent of professionalism in the game of rugby. It was during that period that player were permitted to put on protective gears. Josh Kronfeld was the international-caliber player who led the way into it. With that advancement, rugby players can now choose from a wide range of gears available, some which are more significant than others. 

1. Mouthguard

The possibility of getting elbowed, kicked, or even punched in the mouth is high if you play rugby even at any level. There are also some rigid contacts in the game that are heavy, hitting your head suddenly, making you bite down rapidly. So you are at the risk of biting your tongue, or losing a tooth or possibly several, or even damage your TMJs, known as temporomandibular joints in the jaw if you do not wear a mouthguard. 

If you wear a mouthguard, you can easily avoid these injury problems. Though most beginner complained about the discomfort it cause when it’s in their mouths, but we are very sure it benefits outweighs the potential risks of not using one. $2.99US to $34.99US is the average price range for a mouthguard. To add to the health benefits of using a mouthguard, you’re also guarded against the risk of biting other players. Rugby players who accidentally bite their opponents or teammates would face harsh penalties, like the England’s Dylan Hartley. 

2. Headgear 

The chances of serious head injuries like memory loss and concussion still exist in rugby even if they are not as high as they are in American football or any other dangerous sports. In rugby, generally, your head might be hooked up in an opponent’s knees if you want to make a correct tackling move on the opponent. As we all know, rugby is a collision and crash sport, and the chances of having your head injured or bonked most times in the course of a typical game is really high. 

Until their first serious concussion, many rugby players are ready to cope with that risk. There’s another huge benefit of the headgear that we’ve not mentioned, and it’s the prevention of an occupational hazard such as the cauliflower ear. Players at the position of the locks and number 8s mostly spend most of their time in heated games or at practice in scrums with their ears abraded unless they wear a headgear. So, rugby shorts should be made of durable and study materials. Before the advancement of technology that leads to the production and usage of helmets in rugby, players would cover their ears using an electric tape or wrap medical tapes around their heads. 

There are several benefits that the contemporary headgear had to offer than the electric tape or battlefield medicine; some of which is its ability to allow sounds and let sweat out. The only flaw is that some of the veteran rugby players still complained about the sweat that they got out of using the headgear. They said that “even if most of the modern headgears are made out of relatively lightweight and breathable materials, we still felt little inconvenience on our heads). Well, we can actually relate to that. Putting on a headgear can actually be sweaty since you’re putting in something that doesn’t necessarily needs to be there. We can now see why many rugby players (mostly the ones at the number seven positions where the occurrence of head collision is relatively lower) who play in hot weather take the risk of putting off the headgear. 

Headgear does not have a particular fixed price like the mouthguard, but a good one should cost you around $60US to $70US. To be honest, anything cheaper than this price is not worth buying not to talk of wearing, except you want something that looks like a party hat. 

3. Protective Vest 

Serious hits on the backs, shoulders, and less common on the chest are not avoidable by a rugby player in a heated match. The only permitted gear for this type of pounding and twinge is wearing a protective best under your jersey as a rugby player. A protection vest is a compression fabric that has light shoulder pads, and in some other models, spinal cord and chest protection. 

It might seem like wearing a protective vest is an automatic decision, but it’s not. Its primary function is to protect the skin from abrasions, wick away some perspiration, and also absorb a lot of hits that a rugby player receives on his upper body. 

Its only basic disadvantage is that it adds some extra weight on you. Let’s just say it’s an extra layer. As we all know that the light protective best will weigh more than a normal jersey. 

Additionally, it is during practice that most rugby players choose to wear the protective vest when there will be a lot of relative hits and contacts. As we all know that sometimes an effective rugby practice can be more heated and aggressive than a match. And so, most rugby practices leave players bandaged up than a match. We’ve heard of most players who never wore protective vests when they were younger until they become older and injuries have taken their toll. Also, with the fact that protection vests are somehow expensive, younger and broke players would definitely skip the vests and go raw. 

4. Gloves 

If you’re talking about the Segways of the game of rugby, the gloves cannot be underemphasized. Rugby gloves have a lot of benefits in particular situations of the game but most players don’t use them. But we don’t blame them, because there’s this stigma with rugby players using gloves. 

The use of gloves in rugby matches is relatively rare even if it is not illegal to wear them with grips on them since your teammates would even appreciate if you put them on and catch every passes thrown at you than not wearing them and lose almost all the balls thrown at you. 

Rugby players whose duties in the field is to catch passes and make kicks like the wings, or the fullbacks, usually wear gloves in matches that are played in the rain. The practice that is done in cold weather requires players to wear gloves. Gloves as one of the rugby protective gear are not terribly costly. 

Final Words

The use of tapes by most rugby players plays an important role in providing support for body joints like the shoulder, ankle, and knee. If you want to be a professional rugby player someday, you need to practice with all the essential gears of the classic game. 

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