What equipment/clothing does the player need for practice?
Rubber molded cleats for traction, socks, shorts (synthetic material is fine, but cotton rugby shorts are available), and a t-shirt or other jersey.
What equipment/clothing does the player need for the game?
Something similar to soccer - rubber molded cleats for traction, socks (up to the knee; color-coordinated with the rest of the uniform), shorts (most clubs go with black; synthetic material is fine, but cotton rugby shorts are available), and a jersey (some clubs have the kids buy their jersey, separately or as part of their registration fee, other clubs provide team sets of jerseys).
Does the player need a mouthpiece?
Yes/recommended for touch rugby, and yes/mandatory for tackle rugby. Dental and mouth injuries are unlikely in a touch practice or game, but accidents can happen, and a mouthpiece will go a long way toward reducing the severity of the injury or preventing it altogether. We can’t guarantee that, but it’s usually the case. Dental and mouth injuries are also unlikely in a tackle practice game (though not as unlikely as in the touch game), but nevertheless, mouthpieces are required for all players in a tackle practice or game.
We recommend that you buy the boil-in-water, mold-to-your-teeth kind of mouthpiece. These are available at most sporting goods stores for a few dollars each. If in doubt about a mouthpiece, talk to your family dentist.
Do rugby rules allow for any protective equipment other than a mouthpiece?
Protective equipment is not required, but the rules do permit certain kinds. There are three kinds of protective equipment allowed in rugby - head pads, shoulders pads, and shin pads. All must be foam padding with no hard metal or plastic parts. Protective equipment, other than a mouthpiece, is not required. Touch rugby players certainly do not need any, nor do we recommend that you wear it. The protective equipment is optional in tackle rugby, and many players even at the highest levels of the game do not wear it.
Bear in mind that injuries in youth rugby are no more common than in other youth sports. So, while head cuts are rare in youth rugby, the head gear will offer some protection since parts of the head are covered, and may slightly reduce the already extremely small incidence of concussions. The shoulder pads will not prevent shoulder dislocations from falling in an awkward way. Shoulder pads only serve to spread out the impact from tackling, but tackling at this level is not nearly as bruising as at higher levels. Players are not usually kicked in the shins, but shin pads are permissible.