Ireland Women’s Rugby becomes first in home nations to swap white shorts, easing period concerns

The Ireland women’s rugby team has chosen to swap their traditional white shorts and instead make a permanent switch to navy.

The move, which is led by world-leading kit supplier Canterbury of New Zealand and the IRFU, comes as a response to players’ feedback about period anxieties.

The new shorts will be worn for the first time by Ireland captain Nichola Fryday at the TikTok Women’s Six Nations launch tomorrow and by the team for the duration of the tournament, which kicks off on Saturday, March 25.

As part of the shift, Canterbury is also offering other teams and players at all levels, who have previously purchased Canterbury white women’s shorts, the chance to claim a free pair in a different colour. The opportunity applies to players who have purchased women’s white shorts from Canterbury in the last three years.

The announcement comes after players voiced concerns about playing in white rugby kit during their period.

Ireland International, Enya Breen, said: “The top way to ensure we perform to our best on the field is by removing any unnecessary distractions. Wearing navy shorts instead of white is such a small thing, but for us it’s a big step from Canterbury and the IRFU. This will remove the stress of worrying about being on your period while you’re playing in a match. Our hope is that it will help women at all levels of rugby feel more comfortable on the field so they can get on with performing at their best in the game that they love.”

The decision is one of a number of Canterbury initiatives to further the grassroots game. Its Give It A Try initiative with the IRFU has encouraged thousands of girls to take up rugby and Canterbury’s Future Fund grant, which focuses on creating equity for women in the sport, has supported UK players with kit, coaching and funding in its first year.

Victoria Rush, director of the film No Women No Try, said: “As women we are given a multitude of reasons why we shouldn’t play rugby, before we’ve even started. This decision by Canterbury and the IRFU is a first step in a much more important conversation about choice for women in sport. It shows how brands, clubs and governing bodies can make sure that every woman on the pitch feels comfortable, heard and respected. Here’s to many more decisions like this that make women feel welcome in rugby, and in sport.”

Stella Mills, freelance sports broadcaster and journalist, added: “The move from Canterbury to white shorts is a big jump in the women’s rugby space to address the current imbalance. Anything we can do to ensure women feel more comfortable playing the sport we all love is a win for me. It’s also reassuring to see Canterbury think about players at all levels, with the opportunity for women to trade in their white shorts for a new pair.

“Women’s rugby is the fastest growing sport for a reason, participation levels are climbing but we need to ensure the numbers keep growing and this starts with ensuring players, from grassroots right through to the elite level, feel comfortable in the kit they are wearing.”

For Canterbury, this isn’t just about white shorts. With its mission to revolutionise rugby, the brand is committed to supporting all women in the game, by making sure every player feels listened to and respected. Canterbury is already taking action to put women’s performance front and centre, working closely with players at all levels, ambassadors and partners to enhance its product offering, improve access to the game and ultimately level the playing field – with more game-changing plans to be announced in 2023.

If you’ve bought a pair of women’s white shorts from us in the last three years, head to to find out how to make the switch.

Header image: Pictured from left to right: Ireland squad’s Dorothy Wall, Enya Breen and Aoife Dalton.

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