Rugby training gear has really developed with the progression of sports science, with different companies creating advanced clothing and safety gear to improve the performance and safety of players. Being a contact sport, Rugby enthusiasts can often find themselves injured due to the rough nature of the tackles. In order to prevent this, there are a few accessories that can really help out and provide extra protection to allow you to continue playing. Following a code of health and safety is paramount and highly encouraged by the National Rugby League (NRL).
Using a good quality mouthguard can help to protect against trauma, which in rugby is unavoidable. Australian Dental Association (ADA) and Sports Medicine Australia (SMA) have worked together to produce a mouthguard policy that aims to reduce the number of injuries on the field and in training. Generally, there are two main types of mouthguard: boil and bite and custom fit. The boil and bite guards are exactly that: you place them into a pan of boiling water until the mould can be manipulated, then you gently cool them off and bite into them and mould it to your own mouth.
The ADA and SMA, however, endorse true custom fit mouthguards. These are made by dental professionals who use a type of putty that creates an exact mould of your mouth to produce the guard. They believe that these have a superior fit and are less likely to move around inside the mouth. The custom mouthguards are generally more expensive, so it's always a great idea to have a much cheaper boil and bite in your training bag. They can be replaced easily and still offer a high level of protection.
Headguards are often seen being worn on the pitch, but there are a few misconceptions as to their use. They don't actually provide protection from concussion, as many believe they do; however, they do a fantastic job of reducing the risk of lacerations to the head. Lacerations can be caused by high impact and studs from boots and can stop an individual from being able to play.
Shoulder injuries are fairly common, as players often use the shoulders to make impact with other players. The shoulder girdle and the muscles attached to it aren't actually very strong, and shoulder pads can help to disperse the force of impact and reduce bruising. While not essential, they do provide a good level of protection that will give you the confidence to play longer and harder.