Cape Town – World Rugby has approved a game-changing amendment to the
laws of the game that will enable the wearing of goggles at all levels
of rugby, reaffirming the sport’s commitment to inclusivity.
In line with the international federation’s vision of ‘a
sport for all’, approval by Council follows a comprehensive law trial,
launched in 2014 after World Rugby identified the need to develop a
product that paves the way for greater participation in a safe
In partnership with Italy-based eye-wear specialists Raleri, a design
was developed to facilitate the inclusion of prescription lenses beyond
contact lenses into a device that does not increase the risk of injury
to the wearer or to players coming into contact with the wearer.
The successful trial attracted more than 2 000 registrants. The
detailed feedback from participants in the trial allowed World Rugby to
develop an evidence-based performance specification in partnership with
the Ulster University and the University of Bradford in the UK to refine
the design of the goggles.
The trial has enabled those with limited or no sight in one eye to
participate in the sport more comfortably, as demonstrated by the
inspiring story of Italy international Ian McKinley, who became the
first wearer of goggles in a senior international. He welcomed the
World Rugby chairperson Sir Bill Beaumont said: “The approval of this
law amendment is a very significant advancement for rugby and for
contact sport, and as someone who championed the project from its
inception, I am delighted to see goggles become enshrined within our
“This is a strong demonstration of World Rugby’s commitment to game
innovation and player welfare, but also our mission to making rugby a
more accessible and inclusive sport at all levels.
“This pioneering project was launched to address a specific issue,
and with the help of Raleri, Ulster University and the University of
Bradford, we have successfully developed a product that will enable more
people to play rugby in a safe and comfortable way and we thank all
those involved, particularly the players, for their support and passion
in making this idea a reality that will transform access to the sport.”