Gender-neutral rugby tackling pads meets gap in market

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Date: 15th Jun 2019

A Buckinghamshire New University Art & Design student has come up with a gender-neutral rugby tackle pad in response to what she sees as a lack of training equipment for women in the sport.Mandy Grice Tacrow Pad

Mandy Grice, studying BA (Hons) Product Design, has designed three sizes of the ‘Tacrow Pad’ which matches men’s and women’s body shapes and develops throwing and tackling skills.

“The Rugby Football Union (RFU) presented professional contracts to women for the first time in January this year, awarding 28 full-time professional contracts for the England Women's 15-a-side squad, but I still feel there is a lack of equality as the majority of products are designed for men,” said Mandy, from Derby.

Mandy Grice with Tacrow Pad“There is a massive gap in the market for women’s sports training equipment of all types, not just rugby, as well as gender-neutral equipment.

“The ‘Tacrow Pad’ is made of foam with fake leather vinyl and has a hole to use as a target to throw the ball and improve aim, and I’ve included spots across the pad to illustrate the rising levels of difficulty in tackling different parts of the body.

“It is designed for smaller clubs and schools with less funding which would benefit from its two-in-one design and is designed to suit both male and female bodies as it is in the shape of a man’s X shape body figure and a woman’s hourglass glass figure.

“I am excited about the ‘Tacrow Pad’ and its possibilities as a design, were it to be produced on a larger scale, and this project has also led me to realise that I want to go in to a career in sports product design.”

Speaking about the degree, Mandy added: “I want to go in to sports product design and that has come about largely thanks to the range of areas of Product Design explored on the degree.

“I also enjoyed study trips to Amsterdam and New York in the first and second years, respectively, in which we met different designers and visited a range of studios, and that also opened my eyes to the possibilities open to me.

“Now, I am excited about my future and looking forward to seeing what opportunities there are in sports product design.”

See Mandy’s work on Instagram at @gricedesigns.

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