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  • Importance of the Stud Check

    This is a quick reminder to all referees to ensure they carry out their stud checks before a game.

    The picture attached is reproduced here with permission from our friends in the Western Province of South Africa (http://www.wprugbyrefs.co.za).



    It shows quite clearly the extent of damage that can be caused by illegal studs, and that referees should not allow a player wearing studs that they feel are dangerous to enter the field of play until they have replaced or removed the offending stud(s) in question.

    The article on the WP website reads:

    This is a friendly yet urgent reminder that referees are to do the safety inspections before games to determine that clothing, protective gear and boots are safe. We have had incidents where players were injured at club/school level and allegedly by boots with unsafe studs. Upon investigation it was found that the referee did not even conduct a boots inspection.I do not have to remind you of the legal consequences referees, societies and Unions may face should these inspections not be done and a serious or worse injury occurs.
    Law 4.3 (a) Studs of players' boots must confirm with the IRB Specifications. (Regulations 12).

    and
    Law 4.5 (a) The referee or the touch judges appointed by or under the authority of the match organiser must inspect the players' clothing and studs for conformity of this Law.

    As from today no game will take place before referees do the inspections. Preferably just before kick-off when the teams are ready to go onto the field so that everyone, even the crowd, can see that we are doing it.


    As you can see WP refs are not only concerned about the obvious safety issue, but also the possible legals issues should an injury occur that could have been easily prevented by the referee carrying out their duty as required by law 4.5(a).

    RugbyRefs.com recommends that all referees perform a stud check of all players prior to taking the field. If refereeing in a tournament, all studs should be checked prior to the first games, and at subsequent games the question of "Has anyone arrived to play since the first game?" asked and studs checked where required.
    Comments 63 Comments
    1. john g's Avatar
      john g -
      horrendous. Would like to see the illagal stud that did it!
    1. chbg's Avatar
      chbg -
      Thank you. I've played 4 times this season (low grade, mainly seriously friendly, but with well-respected referees) and have yet to receive a serious stud check - I was beginning to doubt my own pedantry.
    1. taff426's Avatar
      taff426 -
      Just out of curiosity, does anyone actually physically check the studs/blades as well as a visual?
    1. Dickie E's Avatar
      Dickie E -
      moulded soles - visual. Screw ins - tactile.
    1. taff426's Avatar
      taff426 -
      Blades? Personally I always rub the palm of my hand over them to ensire no sharp edges.
    1. Taff's Avatar
      Taff -
      Ouch - that'll make your eyes water.

      When did "visual" checks become acceptable then?

      Stud checks were always done by rubbing the studs with an open hand back in my playing days; so that's the way I've always done them.
    1. chbg's Avatar
      chbg -
      Quote Originally Posted by Taff View Post
      Stud checks were always done by rubbing the studs with an open hand back in my playing days; so that's the way I've always done them.
      So do I - muddy palms are the give-away.
    1. dave_clark -
      yep, same here. always ran my hand over the studs.
    1. FlipFlop's Avatar
      FlipFlop -
      I do a visual, and if anything is unusual, then touch it. I find that metal studs are easy to see if they are sharp, more likely to do a physical check on mouldies, and also where the plastic sole comes away from the leather (synthetic) upper.

      Regularly ask players to change boots or studs - so I must be picking stuff up!
    1. Phil E's Avatar
      Phil E -
      Same as FF, visual check, but touch if unsure, or on blades.
      And yes, if sole is coming away exposing the hard plastic bit that keeps boots rigid, tape it up and come back and show me; or change boots.
    1. Pinky's Avatar
      Pinky -
      Yes, tactile for me too and a particular concern is split boots. I have also told some folks to change studs, but not always for the game, just warned them they are worn. Missing studs is something I also mention to players as these leave a hole that is not supposed to be there and could be an injury hazard.
    1. Pinky's Avatar
      Pinky -
      Should have said, this is a std check for sharp/dangerous and pattern (ie no single stud at toe), not a stud check for compliance with IRB regulations as it is too difficult to determine.
    1. sparky7371's Avatar
      sparky7371 -
      well all, it should be interesting to see what happens with this kind of injury now that the IRB have passed the adidas single front stud boot for trial approval....watch this space on the injuries!
    1. Taff's Avatar
      Taff -
      Quote Originally Posted by sparky7371 View Post
      well all, it should be interesting to see what happens with this kind of injury now that the IRB have passed the adidas single front stud boot for trial approval....watch this space on the injuries!
      Somehow, I can't believe that boot manufacturers will change their boots while the law is still only being trialled. Imagine if you produce thousands of boots this season and the law gets ditched next season - what the hell are you going to do with them?

      Quote Originally Posted by Pinky View Post
      Yes, tactile for me too and a particular concern is split boots.
      The plastic sole on one of my boys boots split at a 45 degree angle. The thought that some people would be dull enough to play with the boots like that would send shivers down your spine. I was going to take a photograph of it and post it on here, but he binned them before I had the chance. Trust me, a split sole would be far more dangerous than a sharp stud.
    1. FlipFlop's Avatar
      FlipFlop -
      Players always seem to say "mouldies" when I ask to check their boots. They are suprised when I tell them I reject more "mouldies" than normal boots - due to the plastic sole coming apart from the upper (creating a nice knife), or the sole splitting as per Taff above.

      Would guess my ratio is in the range 10 : 1 (10 "mouldies" replaced to every "proper" studded boot)
    1. 4eyesbetter's Avatar
      4eyesbetter -
      Quote Originally Posted by Taff View Post
      Somehow, I can't believe that boot manufacturers will change their boots while the law is still only being trialled. Imagine if you produce thousands of boots this season and the law gets ditched next season - what the hell are you going to do with them?
      Sell them anyway? Rebrand them as the SuperWhizzoIt'sOver9000 for the soccer market?
    1. flan's Avatar
      flan -
      Quote Originally Posted by FlipFlop View Post
      I do a visual, and if anything is unusual, then touch it. I find that metal studs are easy to see if they are sharp, more likely to do a physical check on mouldies, and also where the plastic sole comes away from the leather (synthetic) upper.

      Regularly ask players to change boots or studs - so I must be picking stuff up!
      I used to rub my hand over the studs as a matter of fact. FF way seems sensible to me and I have adopted this method for some time as yet Iíve never had a problem do so.

      Just to note I regularly cover school games at my club and the school teachers have instructed me that the players are trying out rugby. So they will take responsibility for the boot and studs.
      In seven years of covering schools games there has never been a problem.
    1. Taff's Avatar
      Taff -
      Quote Originally Posted by flan View Post
      ... I regularly cover school games at my club and the school teachers have instructed me that the players are trying out rugby. So they will take responsibility for the boot and studs.
      What do they mean by that? The book makes it our responsibility.
    1. flan's Avatar
      flan -
      Quote Originally Posted by Taff View Post
      What do they mean by that? The book makes it our responsibility.
      Hi Taff,
      I realise what the book says and I agree.
      I have spoken to the teachers at length on the subject and if I did a boot inspection half the teams would lose half the players.
      With the teachers taking the responsibility on this I am happy to carry on with the matches.
      I understand why you ask the question.

      To that end I’m not over the moon with it but it’s what it is.
      Please understand the schools taking part don’t normally play rugby so with the teachers taking the responsibility is the only way that some kids would play any rugby.
    1. FlipFlop's Avatar
      FlipFlop -
      Quote Originally Posted by flan View Post
      I have spoken to the teachers at length on the subject and if I did a boot inspection half the teams would lose half the players.
      With the teachers taking the responsibility on this I am happy to carry on with the matches.
      Do you get a legally binding waiver? From both sides (and as kids, probably need it from the parents).

      Do you view your safety role so lightly?

      Do you view your duty of care to the children so lightly?

      Play safely, or don't play. I don't care who says they want to take responsibility - SAFETY is my #1 concern, and my #1 priority.

      If there are so many bad boots, we can always play touch rugby with trainers.
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