A rugby shirt, sometimes called a rugby jersey, is a horizontally striped shirt that can be worn both on and off the rugby pitch. Most rugby shirts have short sleeves, but long-sleeved rugby shirts are sometimes worn in colder climates. Rugby shirts are also characterized by a buttoned open collar at the top of the shirt that is reminiscent of a polo shirt. The collar on a rugby shirt, however, usually tends to be a little shorter and a little stiffer than those found on other shirts.
The key difference between a rugby shirt and a polo shirt is the broad horizontal stripes across the chest that originally marked team affiliation. Every athletic rugby shirt is marked with five to six broad stripes, called hoops, in alternating team-specific colors. Casual rugby shirts do not use color to mark team affiliation, so do not always feature the five stripe alternating color format. Non-athletic rugby shirts typically have thinner stripes than their competitive equivalents, as well.
When a ruby shirt is intended to be used for athletic wear, it is often made out of breathable fabric that allows the player to sweat. Team rugby shirts often feature a large number on the back of the shirt to identify the player. The rugby league typically regulates the colors that can be used for each team’s shirt. Furthermore, athletic rugby shirts sometimes feature unique adaptations, such as rubber buttons, to avoid ripping or tearing the shirt during the game.
Generally, an athletic rugby shirt is similar to an old-fashioned soccer jersey with its short sleeves, stripes, and collar. Both forms of athletic wear are also made out of breathable fabrics that are easy to wash, such as polyester blends. Some players feel that the slippery feel of the polyester is more challenging to grab a hold of during a tackle than natural fabrics. Additionally, the colors on both rugby shirts and soccer jerseys are carefully regulated by their specific leagues. The main difference between a rugby shirt and a soccer jersey is the fact that the stripes on a soccer jersey run vertically instead of horizontally.
Non-athletic rugby shirts are typically made out of comfortable fabrics, such as cotton. When not designed for use in a competitive game, rugby shirts often have a striking white collar that shows off the hoops to the best advantage. Colors of hoops are not regulated for casual rugby shirts.