How To Choose The Size of a Rugby Ball Properly

How To Choose The Size Of a Rugby Ball Properly

Table of Contents

Table of Contents

When selecting the proper size of rugby ball, there’s a lot to consider given the various styles, pitches, and player preferences. Thus many questions arise, such as, will you be playing rugby 7s or 15s? Are you playing in hot environments or perhaps in wet, muddy, and cold climates? What type of rugby pitch you’ll be using? Is it grass or artificial surfaces?

As you can see there are a lot of things to consider, that’s why we decided to conduct an in-depth analysis of each component and create the most comprehensive online guide on selecting the ideal rugby ball.

Rugby Ball Size Guide

There’s a variety of rugby ball sizes designed to cater to different age groups and to improve players’ handling skills during training. Usually, rugby ball sizes follow strict standards that determine their size, although not all manufacturers follow these rules so we decided to stick with one of the most popular brands in rugby space, Gilbert. Here are the measurements listed in their buyers’ guide:

    • Size 5: Length 285mm, Girth 585mm
    • Size 4: Length 275mm, Girth 545mm
    • Size 3: Length 255mm, Girth 535mm
    • 2.5 Midi: Length 215mm, Girth 420mm
    • 1 Mini: Length 160mm, Girth 315mm

While the Size 5 rugby balls are ideal for pros and Sunday leagues, they are not the best pick for younger players. Their smaller hands need a smaller and slightly lighter rugby ball, in order to improve their catching, kicking, and passing. The chart below shows the proper size of a rugby ball for each age group.

size of a rugby ball according to age group shown in a chart
Rugby Ball Size Chart By Age Group

Match Balls vs Training Balls for Rugby

There are two main categories of rugby balls, one is used for training and the other one is used in matches. Although they might look similar at first there are differences between these two types. Let’s break them down and take a better look.

Match Balls

Match rugby balls, usually crafted from natural rubber, offer superior grip compared to their training counterparts. Due to their material composition, match balls tend to experience quicker wear and tear than training balls. To enhance their efficiency, reserve them exclusively for matches.

Training Balls

Training rugby balls are typically made of durable synthetic materials that are designed to withstand extended practice sessions. While training balls excel at withstanding repeated use and rough treatment, their durability outweighs the other factors such as grip and flight precision. Therefore, they may not be the best choice for matches. These balls should be reserved for training purposes wherever possible.

What’s the Standard Rugby Ball Size?

The standard rugby ball is Size 5. Here are the official specifications:

According to World Rugby Law 2, Size 5 rugby balls must have the following measurements:

    • Length: 280-300 mm
    • End-to-end circumference: 740-770 mm
    • Width circumference: 580-620 mm.
    • Weight: 410-460 grams.
    • Air Pressure: 65-71-68.75 kilopascals (9.5-10 pounds per square inch).

Un-Official Sizes

Sizes 5,4 and 3 are considered standard, official sizes in rugby union. Other sizes such as

    • Size 2
    • Size Super Midi
    • Size Midi
    • Size Mini
    • Rebounder (Half ball)

These balls are used either for practicing purposes or in junior leagues.

How To Measure a Rugby Ball?

To measure a rugby ball, follow these three simple steps:

Length: Measure from one end to the other along the longest part of the ball. This is typically from the tip to the opposite tip.

End-to-End Circumference: Wrap a measuring tape around the ball, following the curve from one end to the other.

Width Circumference: This is the measurement around the widest part of the ball.

how to measure a rugby ball
How To Correctly Measure a Rugby Ball
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