LGBT rights campaigners have criticised World Rugby’s decision to prevent transgender women from competing at the highest levels of the women’s game.
New guidelines published on Friday “do not recommend” transgender women play contact rugby “on safety grounds”.
National unions can be flexible in their application of the guidelines at community level.
LGBT charity Stonewall says it is “deeply disappointed” with the decision.
“The proposals were based on hypothetical data modelling that has little relevance to the questions of fairness and safety in rugby that the policy review sought to address,” said Stonewall chief executive Nancy Kelley.
“Important policies like this should be based on robust, relevant evidence and work closely with trans people playing in the sport.”
Transgender men remain permitted to play men’s contact rugby union, but the sport’s governing body says a review of its existing guidelines