The Ultimate Guide to Rugby Shirts

At, we've been admiring rugby shirts since we first set up shop in 2000. Back then, cotton was king, and the shirts were a far cry from the high-tech jerseys of today.

But one thing remained constant: the passion they ignited in fans and players alike.

While sometimes referred to as jerseys or tops, rugby shirts are essentially all one and the same – garments steeped in tradition and perfect for passionate fans and fashion enthusiasts alike.

This guide will take you on a journey through the history and styles of these iconic garments, equipping you to find the perfect rugby shirt, whether you're a die-hard supporter or someone who appreciates timeless style we got it covered from pitch to pub.

Rugby Shirt at a Match

1. A History Stitched in Tradition

The rugby shirt's journey is a fascinating one. It all began, unsurprisingly, on the rugby field itself.

Imagine players back in the day sporting white button-down shirts, trousers, and even bow ties!

Needless to say, this attire wasn't exactly conducive to the rigors of the sport. Thankfully, a change was inevitable.

While some resistance arose (gentlemen parting with their tweed blazers wasn't easy!), the arrival of the rugby shirt marked a turning point.

These early jerseys were crafted from thick cotton, built to withstand the physical demands of the game, especially during scrum time. Short collars minimised grabbing opportunities for opponents, and rubber buttons ensured they wouldn't scrape a player's face in the heat of the action.

The 1950s marked another milestone – the rise of the rugby shirt as a casual fashion item. Fans, eager to show their support beyond the pitch, embraced these comfortable and stylish jerseys.

This trend mirrored the rise of polo shirts, with rugby shirts finding a comfortable spot in the preppy style movement. Today, renowned brands like Ralph Lauren and Gant offer a diverse selection of rugby shirts, catering to various styles and preferences.

For those who cherish the vintage look and feel of heavyweight cotton rugby shirts, be sure to explore our collection of vintage rugby shirts from likes of Ellis Rugby.

2. Fitting Like a Champion

Finding the right fit is crucial for both comfort and performance. Rugby shirts come in various fits, from regular to slim-fit options.

Consider your body type and playing style when choosing.

A regular or loose fit allows for unrestricted movement, ideal for retired players or supporting from the sidelines.

Slim-fit jerseys offer a more streamlined feel, worn by modern professional and amateur players on the field, who prioritise a close-to-body feel. It helps to evade tacklers in the heat of the game.

We've included a sizing guide on every rugby shirt to help you find the perfect fit; you'll find it on the final image of every product.  Remember, if you're unsure, it's always best to size up slightly for a more relaxed fit, especially for brands such as Macron.

Rugby Shirt Fashion

3. Beyond the Try Line: Styling Your Rugby Shirt

Rugby shirts are surprisingly versatile. They can be effortlessly integrated into casual wear. Here are some ideas to inspire you:

  • Classic Combo: Pair your shirt with jeans and trainers for a relaxed weekend look.
  • Preppy Chic: Tuck your shirt into chinos and add a blazer for a touch of sophistication.
  • Layered Look: Throw on a bomber jacket or gilet for a cool, layered effect.

4. Timeless Appeal: The Enduring Popularity of Rugby Shirts

Rugby shirts transcend trends. Their clean lines, bold colours, and association with a sport steeped in tradition contribute to their enduring popularity.

They've even been spotted on celebrities like David Beckham and Rihanna, proving their crossover appeal from pitch to fashion runways.

5. Representing Your Colours: International Rugby Shirts

International rugby shirts are more than just garments; they're symbols of national pride.

From the iconic England rose to the mighty All Blacks fern, these jerseys carry the weight of history and passionate fan bases.

Imagine yourself cheering alongside a packed stadium, the roar of the crowd echoing as you wear your nation's colours.

Some of our most popular countries at - England Rugby Shirts | Scotland Rugby Shirts | Wales Rugby Shirts | British Lions Rugby Shirts

6. Club Pride: Pro Club Rugby Shirts

Club shirts allow you to represent your favourite team in professional leagues like Super Rugby, Premiership Rugby, or the United Rugby Championship.

These jerseys showcase the unique colours and crests of each club, fostering a strong sense of community among fans. Vibrant designs are updated yearly to keep the fans on their toes!

7. Fake It Till You Make It? Spotting Fake Rugby Shirts

Unfortunately, counterfeit rugby shirts are a reality, and here at, we see them occassionally.

With our in-house name and number printing and personalisation service, some customers bring in replica shirts they've purchased elsewhere.

Rugby Shirt Printing

While spotting a fake can take a keen eye for the untrained observer, to our team of rugby enthusiasts (and let's face it, shirt geeks!), the giveaways are often clear. Let's delve into how to identify these imposters...

  • Quality Inconsistencies: Look for uneven stitching, poorly printed logos, or flimsy material. Minor details such as branded stitching tape on the inside of the neck might have been missed or the swing tags might be missing or just not look right.

  • Price Point: If the price seems too good to be true, it probably is.

  • Official Retailers: Always purchase your shirt from official club stores, reputable sporting goods retailers, or authorised online vendors, such as!
Authentic Rugby Shirt - or Bodyfit

8. Replica vs Authentic: Gearing Up for the Game

There are two main types of rugby shirts available: replica and authentic.

  • Replica Shirts: These are more affordable options designed for casual wear. They replicate the look and feel of the jerseys worn by players, but they will use slightly different materials and lack the stretch of player-specific shirts. They'll also be a more casual fit.

  • Authentic Shirts: Also known as Bodyfit or Test shirts. Made with top-of-the-line materials and featuring all the bells and whistles of a player's shirt such as GPS pockets - that bump you see on the back of rugby players shirts. These are ideal for the serious fan or player with the body shape to match! However, they come with a steeper price tag.

Consider your needs when choosing. If you're a die-hard fan wanting the ultimate match-day experience, an authentic shirt might be worth the investment. For everyday wear or casual support, a replica is a great option.

9. Sizing Up the Game: Men's, Women's & Kids' Rugby Shirts

Rugby shirts come in a variety of fits to cater to different body types and ages. Here's a breakdown of the key differences:

  • Men's Shirts: Traditionally cut with a straight silhouette, offering a roomier fit through the chest and shoulders.

  • Women's Shirts: Designed with a more tailored fit, often featuring deeper neck lines and darts at the bust for a flattering shape.

  • Kid's Shirts: Available in a range of sizes to accommodate growing young players. Look out for kids training rugby shirts for a good value option for down at mini rugby.

So, there you have it! With this guide in hand, you're now equipped to navigate the world of rugby shirts.

Whether you're searching for a piece of sporting history, a symbol of national pride, or simply a stylish addition to your wardrobe, the perfect rugby shirt awaits you at

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