It has taken perhaps way too long for World Rugby to do this, but it is now officially allowed that players can wear tights or leggins during games.
The old law prohibiting this legwear has largely been ignored, especially at the lower levels of the game. Any player who has played on artificial turf, especially when it is also very cold (hello NY 7s?) can attest to the need to have coverings for the legs to prevent scrapes and abrasions. The law preventing this type of legwear didn’t really have a readily apparent basis in logic or player safety, but it’s possible it was put in back when skin-tight leggings weren’t common or available, and the desire then was to guard against rigid braces or leg coverings under pants.
But the increased use of artificial surfaces for rugby at all levels, and the common availability of skin-tight leggings for men and women that don’t conceal anything dangerous, have made it clear that the law needed to be changed.
The leggins had been made legal for women earlier, partly due to cultural modesty requirements. Now anyone can wear them.
The announcement has been made on welfare and accessibility grounds and reflects the growing worldwide use of World Rugby Regulation 22 compliant artificial surfaces at both the elite and community levels, which have played a role in increased rugby accessibility and participation.
The new law says this is legal to wear: “Cotton blend long tights or leggings, with single inside leg seam under their shorts and socks.”