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Pile Height Change

World Rugby allowance of a 50mm surface

World Rugby’s Regulations, from December 1st, 2020, allow artificial turf systems with at least 50mm pile height to be used but are recommending that they are only considered for multi-sport, community venues where rugby is not the main sport.

Our research indicates that there is no additional risk to using a compliant 50mm system than there is using a 60mm one, but we will actively monitor the introduction of those systems with pile heights of less than 60mm as they are installed and used. We recognise that we cannot cover all system combinations in the controlled environment of the laboratory. 

The hope is that we can use the information gathered to modify the restrictions in place for designers but as with everything we do if there is evidence that it is not in the best interests of the players then World Rugby may consider adjusting the performance specification in alternative ways, in consultation with our industry partners.

The usual conditions detailed in the Performance Specification will continue to apply to all Regulation 22 compliant systems.

Please note as stated in the Rugby Turf Performance Specification:

World Rugby strongly recommend that fields use a 60mm carpet as these have a proven track record for providing excellent surfaces for rugby. Consideration of carpets with pile heights between 50mm and 60mm should be restricted to multi-sport, community-based fields that wish to offer rugby as an additional or optional sport.

World Rugby intend to update this page with information on progress on assessing these surfaces as it becomes available.


Below is video from the webinar hosted by World Rugby in July 2021 on the subject.


world rugby
  • Thu 5 August, 2021
Pile Height Change Webinar