Goggles update

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The RFU is conducting a trial in England to enable the wearing of certain sport goggles by players playing contact rugby if certain conditions were satisfied. This trial is a variation of the RFU’s current regulations which prohibits all types of goggles to be worn in contact rugby. Goggles are permitted in non-contact rugby.
The trial has been ongoing for a few seasons and will continue for the 2017-2018 season. The conditions of the trial are set out below.
Please note that this trial is different from the World Rugby trial.
Under 13s and Below
The trial permits players playing contact rugby at the Under 13 age grade and below to wear specially designed and manufactured sports goggles subject to the following conditions (all of which must be met):

  1. The sports goggles must be dispensed by a registered dispensing optician who is a member of the Association of British Dispensing Opticians (“ABDO”) or an optician registered with the General Optical Council (“GOC”). If an optician is registered with the Association of British Dispensing Opticians, the optician will be listed on the General Optical Council’s list of registered members which is available at http://www.optical.org/. Please check the list by inserting the name of the individual optician or opticians practice;


  1. The player must have written confirmation from the ABDO or GOC optician that:

    1. The goggles are required to correct the vision of the player or are required to protect the player’s eyes due to a medical or optical condition, to enable the playing of Rugby Union; and

    2. The goggles do not substantially restrict any normal field of vision and are suitable for use in evasion contact sports; and

    3. The goggles do not constitute a physical danger to the player or other players; and

    4. The player is not capable of wearing contact lenses and why this is the case.

  1. The match referee is entitled to object to the player wearing the sports goggles if the referee reasonably believes that they are unsafe; and

  1. Clubs/schools must notify the RFU Legal Officer of all players participating in the trial by emailing stephanietucker@rfu.com or AlysLewis@rfu.com; and

  1. Clubs/schools must report any injuries caused as a result of the sports goggles to the RFU Community Medical Team by emailing sportsinjuriesadmin@therfu.com and the player’s parents must report the injury to the ABDO dispensing optician who prescribed the goggles.

Under 14s and Above
The above trial is currently limited to U13s and below. We recognise that this means that players at U14s and above are not able to play contact rugby using goggles but may require goggles for medical reasons.
To enable these players to continue to be included in rugby, it has been agreed that the RFU Governance Standing Committee may, in exceptional and limited circumstances, grant dispensations for goggles to be worn by players over the age of 13 in limited cases provided:

  1. all of the above conditions are satisfied; and

  2. All relevant supporting documentation being provided to the RFU, including medical or optical confirmation as to why goggles are required; and

  3. Approval of the RFU Governance Standing Committee is obtained.

Should a club, school or player wish to apply for a dispensation, please contact stephanietucker@rfu.com or AlysLewis@rfu.com.

Should you have any queries or require further clarification and guidance in relation to the proposed trial, please contact your local Constituent Body.

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