Clarification on Allowable Cleat Patterns
USA RUGBY Laws Committee, April 2006
It has recently become apparent there is some confusion in the US on the application of Law 4.4 (i):
A player must not wear a single stud at the toe of the boot.
I have heard reports of referees requiring that players cut a toe stud off molded rubber soles. This is not a requirement in Law. In fact, I have seen the results of this and they can be actually dangerous after a sloppy trim job, with sharp edges created when cutting off the stud.
The prohibition on single studs is meant for boots with replaceable studs. Soccer style cleats with molded bottoms are covered in Law 4.3 (b), as are many boots intended for other sports such as football:
Molded rubber multi-studded soles are acceptable provide they have no sharp edges or ridges.
In a similar vein, the boot style known as “blades” were accepted provisionally in 2001. That has not changed.
That said, the referee on the day always has the right and the obligation to decide that a particular shoe is unacceptable. Many shoes that are just fine when new can, after use and wear, become dangerous. That is why there is an equipment inspection before every game.