An Insider's Guide to Rugby Taping

As rugby veterans here at, we've seen countless rolls of sports tape used on the pitch. It's more than just a colourful addition to a kit – it's a silent guardian, protecting us from injuries, enhancing performance, and ensuring a smooth game.

Here, we will break down the different types of tape used in rugby and how they benefit various positions.

Understanding the Benefits of Taping: A Player's Perspective

Let's talk about why we use tape:

  • Protection is paramount: Tape around the head shields rugby players ears from the dreaded "cauliflower ear," a deformity caused by constant scrumming and tackling. Some players prefer it over a headguard as they feel it's less intrusive. It's not a pretty sight, and trust us, prevention is much better than cure!

  • Support is key: Wrist tape offers stability and warmth to joints, crucial for tackling, offloading, and general ball handling. Those wrists take a beating throughout a match, and tape helps us maintain peak performance.

  • Performance Enhancement: Lineouts are all about strategy and execution. Lifting blocks secured with tape improve hand placement for lifters and allow jumpers to extend their reach for the ball. Every inch counts in a lineout, and tape gives us that extra edge.

Choosing the Right Tape: A Pro's Insight

There's a specific tape for every job on the pitch:

  • Kinesiology Tape: The go-to for niggling injuries or if a muscle feels a bit tight. It's stretchy and supportive, promoting pain management and faster healing.

    Great for post-match, as it helps promote blood flow, reduce swelling, and support proper movement patterns for faster recovery.
  • EAB Tape: This is a workhorse. It provides robust support for muscles and soft tissues, ideal for areas where more stretch is required - think thigh and calf strains.

    It's also perfect for layering over zinc oxide tape on knees and ankles and securing lifting blocks to your legs. Our biggest offering of EAB tape comes from SportTape.

  • Zinc Oxide Tape: This is the heavyweight champion. Strong and long-lasting, it's perfect for more rigid support on knees and ankles. It offers substancial support to more significant injuries. 

    Choose zinc oxide tape when you want to tape joints such as fingers, wrists, thumbs and elbows. It’s not just popular with rugby players - climbers, Crossfit athletes, boxers and BJJ wrestlers all use it.

  • Sock Tape: Don't underestimate the power of a good sock tape! This adhesive wonder keeps your socks securely in place, preventing them from slipping down during play. No more mid-game distractions adjusting your socks, just pure focus on the game.

    Plus, it can be used over the top of EAB on your lifting blocks and head tape, avoiding any unwanted shifting. Also handy when your rugby boots are on their last legs and they need an emergency fix!

Remember, a sports therapist is your best friend when it comes to personalised tape recommendations. They can assess your playing style and any injuries to suggest the best tape type and application method.

Taping Techniques: Mastering the Art

Proper taping application is crucial for effectiveness. Here are some tips we've learned over the years:

  • Clean and Dry: This might seem obvious, but a clean and dry surface ensures the tape adheres properly. For some injuries, knees and ankles especially, shaving the hair from your leg will greatly improve the quality of taping, and make removal of the tape less painful!

  • Pre-cut and Rounded Corners: Pre-cut your tape to the desired length and round the corners. This prevents snagging on jerseys or shorts, maximising comfort and avoiding mid-game wardrobe malfunctions.

  • Anchor Points: Apply anchor points at the beginning and end of the tape to ensure it stays secure throughout the game. A loose tape is a useless tape.

  • Follow the Lines: When using kinesiology tape, apply it along the natural lines of your muscles for optimal support and to allow for proper movement. Don't restrict your range of motion!

  • Seek Guidance: If you're unsure about taping a specific body part, consult a qualified professional. There's no shame in asking for help - proper taping can make a world of difference on the pitch.

Why Tape Different Body Parts? An Insider's Viewpoint

Now, let's delve deeper into specific taping applications:

Head: Props and hookers, who spend more time with their heads down in scrums, are more likely to wear tape around their ears. It's a simple yet effective way to prevent cauliflower ear. Backs might wear head tape occasionally to protect an injury, but it's not as common.

Thighs: Forwards participating in lineout jumping wear tape on their thighs to secure lifting blocks. These blocks provide teammates with a grip to lift the jumper and catch the ball. It's all about creating a stable platform for the jumper to launch themselves skyward.

Wrists: Tape on wrists offers additional support and warmth. But it's not just about comfort. It can also enhance grip strength and finger dexterity, improving ball handling skills. Nobody wants to fumble it in a crucial moment! 

By understanding the different types of tape, their applications, and proper taping techniques, you can elevate your game to the next level. So, grab a roll of tape at, follow these tips, and get ready to dominate the pitch!

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