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Question Answer
Are my boots safe to play? Following the BBC Watchdog programme investigating the safety of "Blades" many people may be asking the question "ARE MY BOOTS SAFE?" Whilst the following may not be the definitive answer it is what the RFU advise but ultimately it is the responsiblity of each individual to make sure that their boots are safe.

Do my BOOTS comply?

BOOTS (including ‘Blades’) – LAW 4
LAW 4 deals with ‘Players’ Clothing – which includes footwear.

LAW 4(3) deals with STUDS as follows:
(a) Studs of players’ boots must conform with the IRB Specification set out in IRB Regulation 12.
(b) Moulded rubber multi-studded soles are acceptable provided they have no sharp edges or ridges.

LAW 4(4) deals with BANNED ITEMS OF CLOTHING and this includes:
(b) A player must not wear any item that is sharp or abrasive.
(g) A player must not wear any [other] item which does not conform with the IRB Specifications for such clothing (Regulation 12).
(i) A player must not wear a single stud at the toe of the boot.

LAW 5 deals with INSPECTION OF PLAYERS’ CLOTHING and this includes:
(a) The referee or the touch judges appointed by or under the authority of the match organiser inspect the players’ clothing and studs for conformity to this Law.
(b) The referee has power to decide at any time, before or during the match, that part of a player’s clothing is dangerous or illegal. If the referee decides that clothing is dangerous or illegal the referee must order the player to remove it. The player must not take part in the match until the items of clothing are removed.

All studs worn must comply with Law 4.

The IRB has contacted all known manufacturers of boots (irrespective of whether or not they are specifically made for rugby use) and this includes manufacturers of ‘blades’. These manufacturers are required by the IRB to self certify that their studs comply with Law 4.

‘Blades’ include Adidas Exchangeable Traxion Studs.

Regulation 12 does not permit any stud to be longer than 21mm in length. This measurement is taken from the base of the stud as seen on the sole of the boot to its tip.

Referees and Touch Judges will inspect boots only to check that they are safe to play in. They will check that there are no sharp edges or burring etc.

Referees and Touch Judges will not be looking for kite marks or similar approval markings or manufacturers details.


Players must always:
  • Check that their studs are safe to play in
  • Reject any boots that have sharp edges or burring etc.
  • Ask their retailer for confirmation that the manufacturer complies with IRB Specifications
The final onus is on the players to ensure that they play in safe boots.

A summary of above is that the vast majority of studs not in a worn or dangerous condition will be acceptable.

Rugby Referee Development Officer SE
Design and development: www.norwichcloud.co.uk