A pioneering rugby development by Italian company Raleri , who are partnering Rhino to promote and market their product globally, has been short listed for the 'Best Wearable Technology – Performance' category at the Sports Technology Awards. Rhino-Raleri Rugby Goggles have been developed with the objective of enabling prospective players who normally wear corrective glasses but cannot wear contact lenses, including children, to play rugby.
In late 2012 Bologna based Raleri, a company specialising in high performance protective goggles for sport (motorsports and ski-ing in particular) decided to launch the project, which was embraced in principle by the IRB (now World Rugby) who saw it as a way of increasing the inclusiveness of rugby – a key feature of the game's philosophy. Raleri's in house development process was complete by September 2013 and the prototypes presented to WR in October of that year. January 2014 was the launch point of the WR trial period which is ongoing.
Ian McKinley, the former Leinster player once touted as successor to Jonathan Sexton, and who was tragically forced to retire at the age of 21 following blindness in one eye, was able to resume his playing career with the Leornorso club in Udinese in Italy in March 2014, thanks to the availability of this product. This is only the most high profile result for the project. So far 300 pairs of goggles have been sold under a World Rugby release code mechanism for online and direct purchases.
It can truly be said that once this period is completed and the product is on general release this will be the tip of the iceberg - a potentially 'game changing' development for many would be rugby players globally. Rhino are proud to be a partner in this excellent project.
The Sports Technology Awards lunch and presentation ceremony will be held at The Brewery in Chiswell Street, London EC1 on Friday 27th March.