Gilbert Rugby Ball on a Field

The When’s, What’s & How’s of Rugby Injuries


Rugby is one the most physical sports in the world. It requires fast-moving and high-intensity actions, while executing high-skill levels, as part of a team, so as such, you can expect to see injury occurring on a regular basis.

A wonderful sport that captivates many, not only for players but for the spectators who enjoy games week in, week out. So, what do we know about the injuries that players are faced with?

Here’s a host of the when’s, what’s & how’s of rugby injuries for you to see:

The Facts

Due to the highly demanding physical nature of rugby, the sport sees as many as one in four players picking up injuries over the course of the season. On average, an individual player executes between 20 and 40 tackles in a single game. Nearly a quarter (25%) of neck injuries arise as a result of a mismatch in experience between the two opposing front rows.

A lower ranked or less skilled team within the division, being tackled, a forward position and playing at the beginning of the season are seen to be the highest risk factors for rugby injuries.

Rugby player avoiding a tackle and injury

More facts…

  • Adults aged 25–34 years are at high risk of an injury
  • However, most injuries occur in10-18-year-olds
  • Rugby injury rates are claimed to be almost three times higher than in football

When are Rugby Injuries Most Likely to Happen?

Reports show that more injuries occur with rugby players during the course of a match (57%) than in training – which some might expect – with the second half of the game being the more likely half for this to happen, as players fatigue mentally and physically.

As many as 50% of all injuries occur while a player is executing a tackle or being tackled.

Which Rugby Player Position is Most Susceptible to Injury?

  • The forwards sustain more injuries than the backs on their team as they are involved in increased amounts of physical collisions and tackles.
  • As for the backs; wings, fullbacks and centres are at the biggest risk of injury.
  • Hookers and flankers are the two positions that see the most injuries.
  • The players who are constantly in rucks and mauls commonly suffer injuries to fingers and thumbs as well as abrasions and lacerations from opponents’ studs.
  • When it comes to scrum time, it is the locks who are at the largest risk of cuts to the face and the renowned cauliflower ear!

Two rugby players in a tackle

What Injuries do Rugby Players Suffer Most From?

  • More than 40% of injuries rugby players injuries are through muscular strains or bruising. An additional 30% are as a result of sprains, with dislocations, fractures, lacerations, and fatigue/overuse injuries compiling the remaining 30%, respectively.
  • 44% of all head injuries are concussions.
  • 5-25% of all rugby injuries are head injuries, which includes concussions.
  • Among players aged between 10 and 18 years, 35% of injuries occurred are fractures, of which 24% involve the collarbone (clavicle).
  • Sprained ankles are also a wide-spread injury, so much so that they are representative of almost 1 in 7 rugby injuries.
  • Superficial injuries represent 20% of rugby injuries, followed by head injuries and sprains (16%).

How Pre-season Plays a Key Role for Rugby Players

It’s a fact that more injuries are suffered at the beginning of a season, which would suggest that correct pre-season conditioning is an effective element of the sport for helping to reduce injuries.

A pre-season conditioning program should gradually increase in intensity and duration to prepare athletes for competition.

If you want to learn more about rugby injury recovery, then check out our page, and find out useful information for players and coaches that you could help!



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