2 Prem clubs' very different reactions to the leggings law change
Two of the Gallagher Premiership’s London clubs – Saracens, whose home ground has a synthetic surface, and London Irish who use a grass pitch – have given very different reactions to the World Rugby law change that now allows men’s players to wear leggings in matches with immediate effect.
Synthetic surfaces regularly generate negative headlines. Only last month England prop Joe Marler hit out at that type of pitch following Harlequins’ new-season opener at Newcastle, one of four clubs in the 13-team Premiership to use artificial surfaces along with Saracens, Gloucester and Worcester.
World Rugby announced on Tuesday that its executive committee had amended a law so that players would be able to wear tights or leggings in matches at all levels of the sport, something that had only been permissible for women.
“With some players susceptible to abrasions on artificial surfaces, the decision gives players the option to wear tights or leggings as a preventative measure, maximising access to the game,” read a statement from the game’s governing body.
Asked by RugbyPass if this law change was a topic of discussion at Saracens, who have had a synthetic surface as their home pitch since 2013, Mark McCall said: “I actually haven’t talked to anybody about it. I don’t really have anything to say on that, sorry. There have been some grazes from time to time but I have really had any conversations with the players about it.”
Pretty unequivocal from Marler… ?https://t.co/uk2DXm6Lgd
— RugbyPass (@RugbyPass) September 20, 2021
McCall’s succinct reaction was very different to what Declan Kidney said earlier on Wednesday, the London Irish boss suggesting that the law change would be well received by his squad. Their view was shaped by last month’s painful experience at Worcester. “I’d say there will be a couple (of players) who will be really happy,” claimed the Exiles boss.
“We had one game on synthetic already this year and the burn cuts on the knees and legs for three or four players were quite significant. That (law change) will come as a real relief to them. We know we have a number of games we have to play on 3G surfaces, so the fact that there is an added layer of protection there will be to the benefit of the players.
Now you really can play exactly as you train…
— RugbyPass (@RugbyPass) October 12, 2021
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