Essential Rugby Kit – What Every Budding Leigh Halfpenny Wannabe Should HaveOctober 27 2014
As a Mum, when it comes to kit your budding Leigh Halfpenny will obviously want everything. I also know that your budget is already stretched to the limit. But here are the rugby essentials that every young player needs:Kit bags
In the past, I have made the mistake of buying a ‘bargain’ rugby kit bags – what a total rooky mistake! A rugby kit bag will take a serious hammering in its lifetime – getting thrown around changing rooms, buses, pitches; jumped on and generally abused – so it really is worth paying a bit more to get a bag that can withstand the abuse and will last more than one season.
I have bought all sorts of kit bags with various compartment options but found that my darling sons chuck absolutely everything in one space together. So if different compartments keep them happy, go ahead, but it isn’t necessary. The only way I have found to keep the boots and sometimes socks (how can something smell SO bad?) separate from the clothing (and their school uniforms or whatever they intend to put on later) is to buy a boot bag – again basic, but sturdy is best.Kit
They will also need rugby training kit. Although some clubs and schools specify a certain design or colour, most people allow you and your child the freedom to choose this yourself. Again go for quality if you want it to last and not to be buying it all over again two weeks later. I’ve sent mine off in t-shirts before which just get ripped to shreds as they are not fit for purpose. It really is worth buying proper rugby branded gear as it is designed to be abused/tackled. You can buy all sorts of gear, but I would suggest shorts, training shirt and tracksuit bottoms to start with.
If your child is playing several times a week, I think it is worth buying a second set which is larger in order that it lasts two seasons, or otherwise you come home quite late and are trying to wash and dry it before school the next day. There are all sorts of options, from good traditional 100% cotton kit to all sorts of high tech, moisture wicking, muscle hugging stuff, but the essentials remain the same – rugby shirt, rugby shorts and rugby socks.Baselayers
I am a big fan of rugby baselayers. Often your son or daughter will have to stand on the touchline – clearly the coach is a total idiot for not realising that the team will undoubtedly lose without their star player – so they need to be kept warm.
The best skins/baselayers have all kinds of high tech properties such as soaking up the moisture keeping the body dry, hugging the muscles allowing they to be used to their best ability, and if you’re really lucky you can get anti-bacterial ones which claim to keep the wearer smelling like a daisy. And whilst you’re buying your budding international a skin, I can’t recommend enough that you buy one yourself. As well as being fantastic on the touchline, these layers are also amazing in the garden, out walking the dog or even playing sport yourself if you’ve got any time left over.Hoodies
Rugby hoodies are also a great buy. My kids can bung them over their kit at the end of the game to keep warm, while they also look better than a pongy, muddy rugby shirt when you stop for fish and chips on the way home. My three sons wear them all the time and I’ve handed number one’s down through number two to number three and they still look excellent. Again if you buy a good quality hoody or sweatshirt in the beginning, the colour will not fade, the logo stays on (vital apparently) any appliquéd stuff stays looking good. Essential really, as I can honestly say they really do take a hammering.Safety kit
Speaking as the long suffering mother of one hooker and one prop, I would love to say that my darlings wear scrum caps. Sadly they don’t as they say they’re uncomfortable. I have bought my boys scrumcaps more in hope and to make myself feel better, but they have been passed onto grateful friends who clearly have more influence over their sons than I do and the reports back have all been excellent. I fear cauliflower ears in later life, possible brain damage and all manner of horrors, but my friends watch on happily as their sons are hurled about the pitch with some degree of protection on their noggins. If you can get them to wear caps, I’d recommend it!
The invention of shoulder guards was a truly wonderful thing. It stops them getting scratched (and bitten sometimes), badly bruised and it must give the collar bone some padding – all good. Some of them stop mid chest, but I think the full length ones are better and some are built in to a skin/baselayer.
Gumshields are also an absolute must! We did spend a small fortune one year at the dentist having one fitted, but it was lost after the second game and so I only ever buy the boil and fit ones – they’re excellent. You can cut the ends off for really young lads so that they fit in the mouth, and should you lose/gain teeth during the season, just reboil and refit. I can’t see the point of spending £45 for a gumshield that looked no different to the £10 ones and gets lost just easily.One last observation…
I only ever sent my husband out once to buy some kit with my eldest and frankly being a keen rugby fan, he came home with enough stuff to supply the entire team! I do not know much about the rules, but I do know what the little darlings do and don’t need – so try to stay in control of your spending!