Rugby jerseys are an important part of your overall equipment, even though you may not give them as much thought as your footwear or the ball you use during play. The wrong jersey can be uncomfortable and actually get in the way of play, whereas a high-quality jersey can keep players comfortable no matter how long they're on the field. Here are a few quick factors to remember when you're ready to buy a rugby jersey, either for yourself or for an entire team.
Most rugby jerseys will be made of polyester, cotton, or a blend of these two materials. Note that cotton can be thicker than polyester so it can keep a player warmer if you're playing in colder climates or at night. However, if you're playing in hot summer sun, polyester can be lighter and cooler. Cotton also absorbs moisture so it can actually get heavier the more you sweat, making it less comfortable and even interfering with your play. For summertime and serious players who work up a sweat, you want a fabric that wicks away moisture rather than collecting it.
For durability, cotton typically holds up better than polyester against tears and ripping, so it can be a good choice for professional players who may tend to play rougher than younger players. The cotton material may also stand up better to constant washing, also making it a good choice for professionals or those who play regularly.
2. Collar, sleeves, and fit
Don't overlook the small features of a jersey including the collar, sleeves, and overall fit. A collarless jersey is typically more comfortable for play as the weight of an actual collar can keep heat trapped around a player's head and neck, and may also trap more sweat. A jersey with a collar might be better for shirts you wear as part of your everyday wardrobe and not for actual play. A collarless jersey allows for more air circulation for greater comfort when on the field.
The sleeves might also be more comfortable if they cling to the player's arms so they don't get in the way of play. Choose rugby jerseys with fitted sleeves for serious players. The overall fit of the jersey should also cling to the player's body so it doesn't get in the way of play. You can choose a mesh fabric that clings but also note the measurements of rugby jerseys and choose the closest fit, especially around the belly area where the jersey might tend to otherwise billow or twist.