Players will be able wear tights or leggings in matches at all levels of the rugby after the game's governng body approved an amendment to the laws of the game.

Previously only permissible for women, Law Four will be extended to all participants with immediate effect by World Rugby, enabling the wearing of conforming tights or leggings on the grounds of player welfare and accessibility.

World Rugby said the ruling was changed to reflect the growing worldwide use of artificial surfaces at both elite and community levels.

"With some players susceptible to abrasions on artificial surfaces, the decision gives players the option to wear tights or leggings as a preventative measure, maximising access to the game," said a statement.

World Rugby is also to work with unions and artificial turf providers to ensure the risk of abrasions are minimised, particularly by brushing and watering in hot conditions.

Munster are currently the only professional side to use an artificial pitch in competition, with Musgrave Park installing the surface three years ago.

However, the surfaces are common across the United Rugby Championship, with Glasgow Warriors, Edinburgh and Cardiff all using then at their home grounds.