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Sunday, September 25, 2011

A potted history of the rugby world cup, the rules of the game and rugby boots Part Five: Studs or Cleats




As with soccer there is strict rules governing the kinds of cleats (studs) used in rugby. Wearing the wrong studs can increase the risk of injury to the player or member of the opposition. Studs must conform to the standard set by the International Rugby Board (IRB). The important thing is the size and location of the studs (i.e. cleats) on the outer sole. They must not be too long and need to have blunt ends and no sharp edges. Exact details are given in Law 4 (3) of the game. Studs of a player's boots must conform to the British Standard BS 6366: (1983). These must be circular, securely fastened to the boots and of the following dimensions.

Maximum length (measured from sole) 21mm
Minimum diameter at base 13 mm
Minimum diameter at top 10 mm
Minimum diameter of integral washer 20 mm




The wearing of a single stud at the toe of the boot is prohibited but the law will accept a moulded rubber multi-studded sole. Referees check the player’s boots for sharp edges or ridges and it is the duty as a responsible rugby player to ensure the boots and studs are properly maintained. Players in inclement climates prefer screw-in studs because these provide an opportunity to adjust the footwear depending on the conditions. Muddy pitches require longer studs and harder dryer pitches need shorter cleats. The cleat provides traction to help the player grip the ground as the push forwards or turn quickly. The regular player will carry supplies of studs and change them to suit ground conditions. When changing or tightening studs it is a good idea to apply a bit grease to the thread to prevent rusting. The maxim, “more studs, the better the traction,” holds true in the scrum. Scientific studies would shed some doubts as to this claim but players are very set in their ways and as pragmatists reluctant to experiment. Most quality boots incorporate support bar (or shank) to stabilize the rearfoot of the sole unit and nylon stabilizer that gives additional support to the outsole.



Forward players use between seven and nine studs with varying patterns to suit the player. The forwards cleats usually have longer studs to help provide a good footing on the ground on soft turf. On firmer ground a cleat with conical studs is better as they provide a better grip with the ground. The backs prefer a light weight, heavy duty cleats.



More recently the use of rubber blades rather than moulded studs has become increasingly popular. From a performance perspective, blades can help in terms of speed and movement, and provide a good level of grip on firmer surfaces. The major downside is the inflexibility of the fixed blade or stud length, which can be a problem particularly on softer ground. Blades and moulded studs are more suited for Rugby League players than Union players, but can be an option in both codes, particularly for the backs.



For regular or occasional kickers, good feel for the ball is also crucial, so a lighter, thinner upper will be necessary to provide this feel and ensure accuracy when kicking. As the team goal kicker you need rugby boots that give you confidence to influence the game with your feet. You need a rugby boot that has a large sweet spot for kicking with accuracy and distance. Plus, you need good grip for your standing leg. Rugby boots for kickers are typically lighter than those worn by forwards. This is due to the technical features, including kicking zones and stud configurations. But they won’t be as light as the backs rugby boots.



Read more
A potted history of the rugby world cup, the rules of the game and rugby boots Part One: Introduction
A potted history of the rugby world cup, the rules of the game and rugby boots Part Two: History of the Games
A potted history of the rugby world cup, the rules of the game and rugby boots Part Three: Rules of the Games
A potted history of the rugby world cup, the rules of the game and rugby boots Part Four: Rugby Boots
A potted history of the rugby world cup, the rules of the game and rugby boots Part Five: Studs or Cleats
A potted history of the rugby world cup, the rules of the game and rugby boots Part Six: Flower of Scotland
A potted history of the rugby world cup, the rules of the game and rugby boots Part Seven: How to choose rugby boots
A potted history of the rugby world cup, the rules of the game and rugby boots Part Eight: The Haka
A potted history of the rugby world cup, the rules of the game and rugby boots Nine: Rugby Injuries

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