Last updated: 17/10/2022

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Today we are going to talk about the ball of a sport that although it is not the most popular here.

Those who see it for the first time may be confused with a more famous ball with a similar shape. But there are numerous differences between a rugby ball and an American football, and we will certainly go into more detail below.

To help you choose the best model, we prepared this more than complete guide for you to know all the details and specific information. Stay with us and we will facilitate your decision at the time of purchase.


  • Rugby balls are oval shaped, without spikes, and are generally produced in white.
  • The length of the ball is between 28 and 30 cm, and they weigh between 410 and 460 grams, but there are smaller and lighter models that are used by younger categories of players.
  • Rugby ball prices vary between GBP$ 8 and GBP$ 22, depending on the brand, material the ball is made of and other factors.

The Best Rugby Ball: Our Picks

Buying Guide

Rugby is still not a nationally known sport. However, in recent years, the practice has been standing out in the country. Follow us to learn all about the ball of this sport.

Jogadores de rugby disputando pela bola.

The sport has been standing out in the country over the last few years. (Source: 12019 / Pixabay)

What are rugby balls?

The number grows every year, with each playoff series and Super Bowl, considered one of the biggest, if not the biggest, sporting event in the world.

But it’s not uncommon to see rugby balls being thrown around. The sport has a hotly contested national championship and are already receiving worldwide prominence as well.

What is the difference between a rugby ball and an American football?

As for the difference between rugby balls and American footballs, they go beyond colour. Despite the very similar shape and size, a very noticeable difference lies in the ends.

While the American football has pointed ends, the rugby ball is flatter and rounder. This makes a big difference in the ball’s travel, in the way each one moves through the air.

Rugby is a game of more passing, and the ball has a less streamlined design. You are only allowed to pass the ball with your hands to the sides or back. For the ball to go forward, players need to use their feet.

Unlike American football, in which the ball usually travels long distances, in rugby the ball maintains some stability during flight on short passes, but falls over with the end on longer passes or kicks.

If you are already a rugby player, amateur or professional, ensure that the ball of the game is also the one that will give you the best performance coupled with durability and endurance.

Training or match rugby ball?

Some factors can be decisive when choosing your ideal rugby ball. The material it is made of, the way it is produced, everything can influence and guarantee the performance and durability of your ball.

The quality of the ball has a major influence on performance because it changes the potential distance and accuracy of each pass. Many athletes opt for a training ball instead of buying an official match ball. The main differences between the two models are as follows:

Training Game
Cost x Benefit Lower cost and focus on durability Higher cost and better performance
Material Synthetic rubber Natural rubber
Advantage More resistance More grip

What is the ideal rugby ball size?

The size of your rugby ball is something you need to evaluate as it directly affects your ability and relationship with the ball. If it is too small or too big, it will certainly hinder your control and consequently, your performance.

The ball should be the same size for practice and matches. The rugby ball sizes are as follows:

  • Size 5: Used for age groups from 15 years and upwards, including adults. According to official standards, the balls can have a length of between 28 and 30 centimetres, a circumference of 74 to 77 centimetres and perimeter of 58 to 62 centimetres.
  • Size 4: Used for age groups from 9 to 15 years. Length should be 27.5cm, circumference 72cm and girth 55.5cm.
  • Size 3: Used for age groups up to 9 years. The length should be 25.5cm, circumference length 68cm and circumference 54cm.

Buying Criteria: Factors to compare rugby ball models

Every sport is played with a combination of willpower, talent, and the right equipment. Choosing your rugby ball is no different. It is essential to know what you need to analyse when buying.

We will help you choose the ideal ball by observing:

  • Production material
  • Weight
  • Adherence
  • Chamber or Bladder

These are factors will be decisive when buying your rugby ball. We will detail each of them to help you find the best option and get you in the game.

Imagem mostra jogador profissional de rugby segurando uma bola enquanto outro aproxima-se.

There are essential factors to take into account when buying a rugby ball. (Source: jackmac34 / Pixabay)

Production Material

In the old days, the larger training and match balls were made from leather, which absorbed water and were uneven in weight. Nowadays, they are made of synthetic or natural rubber, with an inner tube.

They also have a dimpled surface allowing better grip and ball handling. This is the standard, but there are different variations if you want them.

Smaller balls can be found with a smooth surface made of PVC or PU, the same materials that are used in footballs, giving them a shiny appearance.

The glossy look is an advantage for aesthetics, but it loses out in performance as the surface makes it harder to grip. Balls in size 3 are generally made of foam, with no inner tube, which means they are light, soft and safe for younger players. This is the best choice for beginners.


The weight of the ball when new should range between 410 g to 460 g with a ball pressure of 9.5 to 10 PSI. Some athletes look to improve wrist strength and go through a lot of time using a weighted rugby ball.

Weighted rugby balls can weigh up to 1 kg, but should never be kicked as they can cause serious damage to your foot and ankle. The extra weight helps develop the muscles involved in passing and forces you to use a more efficient and technically correct pass.


A game like rugby demands tremendous ball control, and “grip” or grip can be the differentiator. Balls with a textured “mirror” outer layer provide players with even greater control.

This grip is considered to balance between how easy a ball is to catch versus how far it can be passed or kicked. It’s a battle, as the more grip, the shorter the kicking distance can be.

The grip pattern can also affect how long the grip will stay on the ball. Lower profile round spines will last longer than higher angled spines, but will give less grip.

This is why you will see different types of grip for different types of rugby. Grip is also affected by the type of rubber used to make the ball. Natural rubber (game balls) provides more grip, whereas synthetic rubber (training) provides more durability.

Chamber or Bladder

This is one of the most vital components in determining the performance of a rugby ball. The chamber, or bladder, can come in different varieties and sizes, depending on the use of the ball.

Match balls usually use a natural latex bladder, which has high resilience and provides a ball with good rebound characteristics. The downside is that the surface is permeable and allows air to pass through it. This means that the balls need to be calibrated correctly once a week.

There are advanced models with equivalent characteristics but which are not air permeable and remain inflated for much longer periods, sometimes 1 to 2 months.

  • Natural Latex: Soft, bounces well, but leaks air.
  • Butyl Bladders: Offer an excellent combination of feel and air retention, typically in mid to upper range balls.
  • Patented Synthetics: Gilbert’s Air-Loc bladder is an excellent example of a copolymer bladder that retains the qualities of natural latex without losing air. More expensive material used in higher quality balls.

(Featured image source: jackmac34 / Pixabay)