Rugby Balls - Which ball do I need?

Rugby Balls - Which ball do I need?

17 Apr 19

Welcome to the definitive guide of rugby balls from Gilbert Rugby, the market leading experts in world rugby. This guide will take you through which balls are best for you and your club/school - including rugby balls size 5, size 4, size 3, what rugby balls are made of and where to buy them. At Gilbert Rugby we also offer custom rugby balls in bulk buy, so get in touch with us at - for now, take a look at our guide below on the best rugby balls to buy for you.

Supporter vs Replica

A Gilbert Replica Ball is perfect for those wanting a high quality ball to practice training and handling at home. All Gilbert replica rugby balls include the trademark Gilbert ellipses, synonymous with rugby, and are made with 3 Ply backing material to ensure great shape retention. Each high-grade Gilbert replica ball also includes the standard Gilbert pimple grip pattern and a grippy rubber compound surface. These balls are high quality hand stitched rugby balls with a synthetic latex bladder for optimum air retention.

On the other hand, Supporter Balls use a 2 ply backing material and provide the ideal option if you are looking for a fun and affordable piece of club or international memorabilia. Gilbert supporter rugby balls are perfect for backyard rugby with family and friends.


Training vs Match ball

Gilbert training rugby balls are made with cost and resilience in mind so they can withstand the rigours of multiple training sessions. They are made with a higher percentage of synthetic rubber rather than natural rubber which makes them a more robust ball, but also reduces the natural grip properties. Because of this Gilbert have introduced the patented triangular surface grip pattern on our G-TR 4000 training balls.

Gilbert match rugby balls on the other hand have been designed and produced with high performance in mind. Due to the performance nature, match balls are more expensive and therefore are often used in team run-throughs and matches rather than regular training sessions. Gilbert match balls are made with more natural rubber which naturally enhances the grip, essential for match play. An additional feature that all Gilbert match balls benefit from is the patented Truflight™ valve, positioned in seam. This in turn augments spin and flight. All of these performance features make a match ball higher in price than a training ball.



Rugby balls come in different sizes depending on the players’ age. This ensures handling skills are developed correctly and there is no difficulty in passing. The table below indicates the Gilbert rugby ball size against the appropriate age range.



Size 3 (Mini)

Under 7, U8, U9

Size 4 (Junior)

Under 10, U11, U12, U13, U14

Size 5 (Adult)

Under 15 and up.


Other ball sizes available include:

  • Super Midi (equivalent to size 2.5)
  • Midi (equivalent to size 2)
  • Mini (equivalent to size 1)

7 facts about Rugby Balls – source: World Rugby Laws

  1. The ball is oval and made of four panels.
  2. It has dimensions as shown here:Rugby Ball Dimensions
  3. It weighs 410-460 grams.
  4. Smaller balls may be used for matches between young players.
  5. The ball is made of leather or a suitable synthetic material. It may be treated to make it water resistant and easier to grip.
  6. Its air pressure at the start of play is 65.71-68.75 kilopascals, 0.67-0.70 kilograms per square centimetre or 9.5-10.0 pounds per square inch.
  7. Spare balls may be available during a match.

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