A buyers' guide to the best new equipment for kids

Back to School Rugby Equipment

The rugby season is back again. If your kids are anything like I was, the best bit about the return of the rugby season isn’t the rugby but the new gear.

In this two-part series of articles, we look at six pieces of equipment and six pieces of clothing that all kids should have going into the new season.

Nothing in this list costs more than £40 – we know times are hard – and everything comes highly recommended or personally tested.

First off, let’s look at the best back to school rugby equipment for the new season.

Back to School Rugby Equipment

Opro Self-Fit Gen4 Junior Mouthguard

Junior Protection - Opro Self-Fit Gen4 Junior Gold Mouthguard - Black/Gold -


As someone who lost a tooth when playing without a gumshield, I cannot overstate how vital they are. I had a gumshield, but didn’t wear it because the fit was baggy and made me gag. Now, I wear, and would only wear, an Opro gumshield.

Yes, they are more expensive, but they’re incredibly comfortable and feel much safer than the many other gumshields I’ve tried over the years. The Opro Gold level gumshield offers the highest level of protection and it is worth it for a little extra cost.

If your child is new to contact, then a good gumshield is crucial and the Opro Gold is the best.

Reasons to Buy

– Offers great protection

– Despite the better protection, it still feels comfortable and kids shouldn’t need to take it out at any point in a match

Reasons not to Buy

– The only reason not to buy is the cost

Buy Now from Pro Direct Rugby for £20

Gilbert Junior Atomic V3 Protection Top

Gilbert Junior Atomic V3 Protection Top - Black/Silver/Blue - Adult Protection - Protection Top


Tackling is an unnatural thing to do and, understandably, many kids take time to get used to it. Something which helped me when I was younger was body armour, now called protection tops. The padding covers the areas that take the brunt of any tackle; the shoulders and chest.

I still wear body armour as an adult and notice a marked difference in the number of bruises I get wearing it versus not wearing it. Ultimately, if it gives your child more confidence and reduces the bruises then it’s worth the investment.

Reasons to Buy

– Makes kids feel more confident when going into contact

– Acts as an extra base layer in winter to keep kids warm

Reasons not to Buy

– Lacks padding around the neck and ribs, which some protection tops offer

Buy Now from Pro Direct Rugby for £26

VX3 Airflow Headguard

Airflow Rugby Headguard Junior


The first thing to clarify when talking about headguards is that there is no evidence that they prevent concussions. However, they do provide protection from cuts and abrasions.

I wore headguards as a kid and they were always too hot, or you couldn’t hear/see much. Modern headguards have fixed all those problems by adding ventilation without reducing protection and by adjusting the cut to broaden your peripheral vision.

Reasons to Buy

– Reduces the risk of cuts and abrasions to the head

– VX3 offer some great colours that appeal to kids

Reasons not to Buy

– Need to ensure that children don’t get a false sense of security and still practise good tackle techniques

Buy Now from Lovell Rugby for £25

Kooga Power Children’s Boots

Power Rugby Boots Childrens


A pair of Koogas is a right of passage for all players. There is a good reason for that. They’re very cost effective and are ideal for any kids who fancy themselves in the front five.

The eight-stud layout is very unusual for kids’ boots but it’s what you need in the deep winter on the muddiest of pitches. They have rightly been the first call for parents for many years and that should continue into the future.

Reasons to buy:

– A great pair of boots for the worst surfaces

– A long tradition of pumping out great boots for kids

Reasons not to buy:

– The design is quite dull

Buy Now from Lovell Rugby for £27

Buy Now from Sports Direct for £29.99

Check out our buyers’ guide to rugby boots for kids for more footwear options.

Carta Sports Super Tee

Back to School Rugby Equipment

(Carta Sports)

Kids love kicking the ball, much to the irritation of some coaches. It is a key skill, though, and kicking off the deck is especially hard and can lead to frustration when you are first practising.

The Carta Super Tee is soft and flexible, meaning that a mishit won’t cause any pain to a young kicker. Kids love something different and the Super Tee offers that with its unique look.

Reasons to buy:

– Looks great and is used at the highest levels

– Soft enough not to cause any problems for mishits

Reasons not to buy:

– Not designed for smaller size balls

Buy Now from Lovell Rugby for £9

Gilbert Evolution Headguard



Fashion is cyclical, I’m told. As headguards get more and more colourful we’ll reach the point where black headguards are back in fashion.

Gilbert will be hoping that point is now. The Evolution looks fantastic. The cut around the front of the headguard opens up your peripheral vision and cuts around the ear ensure hearing isn’t impaired. It’s a great bit of kit for a very reasonable price.

Reasons to buy:

– Very affordable with plenty of great features

– Lots of padding around the key areas

Reasons not to buy:

– Less ventilation than some other headguards on the market

Buy Now from Pro Direct Rugby for £16

We have also put together a guide to the best back to school rugby kit.

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