One of the beautiful things about rugby is that it doesn't take much more than a ball, a pair of boots, some shorts, a shirt, and a mouthpiece to play it. It's an excellent sport that requires little in the way of setting it up, whether it's a real game or just touch.
However, while rugby teams don't necessarily need to have much in the way of equipment or gear, they can certainly be helped by adding certain accessories to their collection. Having some essential pieces of equipment can enhance your practice and allow you to safely work on more aspects of the game.
Here are some items every team should look to have:
Tackle Bags (Also Called Tackle Pads or Hit Shields)
One of the most widely-used items during rugby practices is the tackle bag, which allows coaches to run drills that involve a high volume of contact for a long time. The pads are generally curved, so as to encourage the player hitting the shield to maintain a lower body position through the hit.
Tackle bags are good for working on tackling, rucking, and carrying into contact, as they limit the force of impact in the collision while players work on technique at full speed.
Pinnies (Also Called Scrimmage Vests)
Pinnies are a must out on the practice field if you want to divide your players into teams for any number of different practice drills.
Since rugby players often hit the deck during practice, it isn't wise to have players go shirts and skins to divide up teams. Having pinnies on hand helps to split up the teams without risking players getting scraped up or bitten by mosquitos.
As with most sports, cones are an essential practice item. Countless drills require makeshift boundaries, so having a set of cones is a must. It would be helpful to get various colors of cones as well, so that you can designate certain zones for certain drills.
Make sure to have a good supply of balls from the beginning all the way to the end of the season. It's only a matter of time before rugby balls start wearing down and losing their grip and shape over the course of a season. Try and restock your set at least once a year to keep fresh balls for the players.
It's also a good idea to pick out a few balls at the beginning of the year to be your designated game balls. While you do need to use them a little bit before a game to break them in, you don't want to overuse them outside of game action.
*Bonus - Scrum Sled
If your team has the money to purchase a scrum sled, or the man power to build one, these are invaluable when it comes to building cohesiveness in your forward pack. It's almost impossible to create realistic opposition during practice by squaring off the first team players with the second team players. Having a sled is a great way for both teams to get a good challenge -- to make it harder or easier simply add/remove weight by having more/fewer players standing on the sled.