Japanese player loses ball over tryline


Jebb Sinclair red card for leading elbow


Jason Rutledge's great tryline defence


Huge hit by Tonga in Pacific Nations Cup


Courtney Lawes crunches Charlie Hodgson


George Pisi hit makes Shane Geraghty ill


Toulon do the double with Top 14 win


Bloody Florian Fritz returns to play


Carlos Spencer & Stephen Larkham fight

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Rugby injuries in the professional era

Rugby injuries in the professional era

As the end of year Tests kick into gear, there isn't a team taking part that hasn't been affected by injury. While that has, and always will be a part of rugby, it seems that nowadays players are feeling the impact of professional rugby more than ever.

The IRB's Medical Strategic Plan forum began in London today. It's a two day conference that will have medical experts from each of rugbys leading countries in attendance. They will discuss the increased rate of injuries and physicality in the game, and hope to make recommendations regarding player welfare.

Theyre concerned that the demands on top players have become too great, referees arent enforcing the laws in certain aspects of play, and that players have quite simply become too big.

When looking at international sport, 220 out of 1000 hours are lost to injury in rugby. In American Football its 112 hours, Ice Hockey 80, Football, 40, and Cricket just 10 hours.

"We are reaching a level where the players have got too big for their skill levels," said Lions team doctor James Robson at the end of their tour of South Africa in July.

"Players have become a little too muscle-bound and bulky," he added.

Jonny Wilkinson's list of injuries over the years includes a fractured shoulder, knee ligaments, ankle ligaments, haematoma, groin injury, damaged kidney, torn thigh muscles and a dislocated knee. Mike Tindall has had a ruptured liver, punctured lung, ankle ligaments, shoulder surgery, torn stomach muscles, broken foot and broken leg.

Jean De Villiers has missed two world cups due to injury, and Gavin Henson seems to have thrown in the towel after a career spent on the physio bench.

Former England centre Damian Hopley, who himself had his career cut short because of a knee injury, is now chief executive of the Rugby Players Association. Hes concerned about the prolific rate of injuries to players these days and feels that amongst other things, the reduction of squads due to the economic crisis, has had an affect.

"I feel sorry for the players and also the directors of rugby who are now in a results-driven business, he said. "They need results to save their jobs. It is a vicious circle. They have a very difficult task."

Its clear that there are a number of factors involved in the high rate of injuries that are occurring at the moment. Too much rugby, bigger players, and refereeing inconsistencies seem to be the top three to blame.

The man who recently suspended Dan Carter for a week, Judge Jeff Blackett, says referees and citing officers are at fault for not taking sterner action when applying the laws.

"We are not applying the laws of the game or we are interpreting them too freely. If referees and citing officers applied the rules more rigidly, we may see a reduction of injuries at the breakdown.

"There is a balance between dynamism and safety, and I think it has gone too far in the wrong direction. In an effort to increase the attractiveness of the competition, we are in danger of damaging the game," he said.

Time: 02:08

If can't play because you're injured and need some advice, visit www.expresssolicitors.com

Posted at 10:54 am | 85 comments

Viewing 85 comments

No.7 November 12, 2009 1:22 pm

I guess adam jones has a good point, i once caught a guy with a stiff arm, particularly stupid on my part...but it was more of me trying to reach him at arms length, it jarred my elbow, not so bad i didnt play on, but occasionally i get the odd twinge now and again. (nothing compared to these guys injuries but on a smaller scale!)

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Anonymous November 12, 2009 1:29 pm

What do you expect with proffessionalism, the price of winning means players spend most spare time in the gym eating protein and chemical supplements. Not like the old days when there would just be a bit of evening training after a day's brick laying and then matches on Saturday afternoons. To be fair, players wouldn't play and would have different jobs if they didn't enjoy playing though

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Anonymous November 12, 2009 1:30 pm

I couldnt understand a word out of Adam Jones's mouth!

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AndyMo November 12, 2009 1:54 pm

Rugby has a ridiculous amount of 'hours spent injured per 1000 hours played' ratio.

I can't remember the exact figures but its something like:

Cricket 35
Soccer 85
American Football 145
Rugby 230

Top injuries are Hamstring, calf, rotator cuff (shoulder) etc.

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Matthew November 12, 2009 1:55 pm

I've heard recent discussions saying that players are now playing at too high a level at too young an age and their bodies haven't yet fully developed to withstand the contact - Johnny Wilkinson is a prime example of this.

I think there is definitely some truth here but it's a professional game so how can you stop the best player getting selected.

Players are becoming monsterous in size, a good way of comparing this is to watch the Lions DVDs of South Africa, look at the build of the players in the 1997 tour and then 2009, massive (quite literally) difference

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zacaria November 12, 2009 2:14 pm

in australia the dominance of injuries has just recently changed from knees to shoulders, they also suggest the shift is also to do with the change from metal to rubber tags.
it seems that the most common place for niggling injuries are in the rucks, which is a messy area of the game, i think a rule ensuring stricter regulation of when and were someone can enter should be enforced.

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jimmy November 12, 2009 2:17 pm

Anonymous said...
I couldnt understand a word out of Adam Jones's mouth!

something about a "sore neck" and a "bit of a lie"?
but I'm guessing

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Anonymous November 12, 2009 2:32 pm

omg, quit whining... if you cant handle it, don't play it!! why is it always the English who complain, i didn't hear you complain when you won the world cup, but as soon as you start losing, you blame everything for it!?!?!
You have like 20 professional teams, and you cant even make up a good international side, pathetic really...

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Anonymous November 12, 2009 2:35 pm

true story

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Anonymous November 12, 2009 2:38 pm

One thing I did hear during Jones' moment of glory sounds a lot like a loud "FUCK" in the background. Listen carefully, it happens just about the same time he mumbles something about a sore neck.

Would be interesting to know what he actually said, haha, any Welsh lads out there willing to translate for us?

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Rob November 12, 2009 2:40 pm

Fuck you anonymous. No one's whining or complaining here. No one's saying "oh no we're losing, better blame it on the injuries". It's simply a report on the fact that there are a lot of injured players at the moment and it could be because players are much bigger these days. Which is fair enough I guess. But hell we all love a big hit so I don't really see what they can do about it.

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Anonymous November 12, 2009 2:47 pm

I am not sure I understand the logic here.

Sure, the average player is far bigger and more powerful than they were 20 years a ago. But it's all relative....all players are bigger, faster, stronger and fitter.

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Chris November 12, 2009 2:50 pm

"You'll always have a niggle whether it be, I don't know, a bit of a sore neck or whatever. I think you'll never be 100% fit and I think whoever tells you that is having a bit of a lie to be fair" - Adam Jones

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eric November 12, 2009 2:50 pm

Its not about the laws, maybe bigger squads to give players proper resting time?
Or simply dont do anything.. if you want to play as safe as possible, dont go pro if you have tha chance, keep it amateur.. if you are good and want to take a bigger rik then is up to you.. i doubt that there is a real solution to the problem

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Lorcan November 12, 2009 2:54 pm

Anonymous, you're obviously just a child troll trying to start a childish online row with english fans, there will be no response to you after this one (unless you murmur some pathetic, inexplicable reply - you retard). Go and play with your toys, this site is for grown ups.

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ConnachtFan November 12, 2009 3:00 pm

When you compare the squad numbers in rugby to say Ice Hockey or US grid iron (both as physical as rugby ) it makes sense that rugby players have a greater proportion of risk /injury as they are playing more regularily, in ice Hockey ( look a US Football, they have squads of 40 -50 players!) Ice Hockey substitutes on the fly ( unique to the nature of playing on ice) but the logic /reasoning is there for larger squad sizes....

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Joshua November 12, 2009 3:11 pm

There is not really much that can be done to prevent injuries and it is part of the game. Ironic that England have so many injuries and the topic highlighted at the time that questions are being asked about Martin Johnsons poor record as England coach. Maybe it is to buy him more time and an excuse as England will more than likely lose against Argentina on Saturday! Bottom line is the English are not tough enough for the game and should play football. Rugby is a mans game!

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Alain November 12, 2009 3:17 pm

one thing i have noticed is that the northern hemisphere play more games than in the south. could that be it? maybe

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Bill November 12, 2009 3:22 pm

Less rugby is the answer. In the SH players sign central contracts with their national unions which stipulate a certain number of games that a player can play in a year.
In Aus it's 32.
It reduces the toll on players.
In Europe the players have too many fixtures, too closely packed together.

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Bill November 12, 2009 3:22 pm

Less rugby is the answer. In the SH players sign central contracts with their national unions which stipulate a certain number of games that a player can play in a year.
In Aus it's 32.
It reduces the toll on players.
In Europe the players have too many fixtures, too closely packed together.

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Bobby Nations November 12, 2009 3:26 pm

ConnachtFan, yes the squad sizes are larger for American football and ice hockey, but almost every member of those squads play during the course of a game. In football, basically all but the backup quarterbacks will play in almost any given game, due to the nature of free substitutions. There just aren't that many players "on the bench" so to speak. The hockey games that I've watched over the years lead me to think that the same holds true for them as well; basically, the backup goalie is the only one not in the game at some point.

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Anonymous November 12, 2009 3:29 pm

Joshua, What a waste of everyone's time you are.

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rehanb November 12, 2009 3:34 pm

yes true but compare playing 10 minutes a game to say 80, also in rugby chances are you will be a lot more involved. lets say for every 20 knocks to the shoulder you occur one injury, a high count for hits in hockey is five whereas a high tackle count in rugby would be 20 say. therefore you are simply more injury prone in rugby due to the shear number of times you make physical contact

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no9 November 12, 2009 3:38 pm

rugby is fine!!
its just an excuse for england (who have a crap manager anyway)to loose a few games in the autum
i bet if it was a team like fiji or Samoa that had 13 injuries no one would even give a shit.

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Bonzai November 12, 2009 3:43 pm

This is so stupid. What can they do to reduce injuries? American football sees less injuries because of its protective clothing and that is the only way to protect shoulders, backs and heads: with pads and helmets. But that is completely impractical and will therefore never happen. You can't change the tackle, people are already getting pissed off with refs like Bryce Lawrence in the England Australia game penalizing the tackle on Monye. ITS STUPID. Players are only gonna get bigger, some will be injury prone, others will not. Its a big boys game and some people cannot play it.

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Clean Break November 12, 2009 4:02 pm

This video is an independant report from the BBC stating a simple fact that a lot of players, regardless of nationality, are injured at the moment and questioning whether this is because they are overgymmed or not.

This is not England or Martin Johnson complaining, nobody is blaiming Englands poor run of form on injuries.

He even says that he thinks it simply a period that we are going thourhg.

Anybody who thinks this is somehow a video made by the England Rugby Team complaining about losing is, quite frankly retarded.

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Joshua November 12, 2009 4:06 pm

Anonymous your post was great, really added a lot to the discussion taking place. Suggestion, stay anonymous

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Anonymous November 12, 2009 4:11 pm

i think they're ruining the contact by penalising big tackles so harshly. high tackles, and not wrapping the arms around the player do hurt to be on the recieving end of but they don't generally cause injuries. the vast majority of injuries are just unfortunate, not a result of dangerous play.

I recently picked an opponent off the floor and the ref told me to "put him down gently" - you must be joking, right?!

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Matt November 12, 2009 4:17 pm

Clean Break nobody is blaming Englands poor run of form on injuries, however even a retard can see that excuses are being made just in the event that England continue to lose. (As they did most games since their slump after they became world champions) All teams have injury problems (SA had many when the Lions toured South Africa) It has always been a part of the game and will never go away, yet when England have many injuries it is highlighted. And obviously the video was not made by the England rugby team complaining about losing

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No.7 November 12, 2009 4:18 pm

Right, its nice to see the majority commenting here actually are having a friendly discussion and good on those ignoring the fools who try and cause problems (i have an issue with ignoring them!)

Its interesting to hear about the SH players signing contracts to play less games.. maybe that is the key.

BTW to those asses which cant help themselves, if any of the NH teams lose all their matches i vow not to blame it on injuries....you field the team you have, and that team represents your country....sorry if its not up to scratch!

I think you also have to look at the amount players are payed these days....its sort of occupational hazard, you get payed more because you won't last as long...in the old days where someone commented, it was just about a bit of training here and there they didnt get paid as much as they do nowadays.....its not really a solution though...i think more rest is probably the solution.

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No.7 November 12, 2009 4:21 pm

"And obviously the video was not made by the England rugby team complaining about losing"

Yet it contained more injured Welsh players than English....

Can you not act like a retard and perhaps read between the lines. no one is asking you to sympathise and feel sorry for Eng, but there is a simple fact that in professional rugby there are more and more injuries lasting longer and longer!....i highly doubt the 220 hours out of 1000 hours are all England players do you?!

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Anonymous November 12, 2009 4:25 pm

This has nothing to do with the England team complaining, the video was made by the BBC, which is the BRITISH Broadcasting Corporation, and that fact was clearly shown by an interview with Welsh players.

There isn't really a solution. Big bloke hits big bloke = injuries. The current climate of rugby seems to be to make contact, when rugby, at its core, is an evasion game, based on avoiding contact to score tries

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Alexander November 12, 2009 4:32 pm

man there are some narrow minded people here, saying the English are looking for excuses. Found Joshua egotistical comment quite histerically ridiculous. As an Englishmen will say, injuries or not, we were always gonna come out second best against Australia. FACT. we're not good enough at the mo! Big deal, rugby goes in cycles. i do think the premiership , in being so forwards based and less attractive, makes the tournament more of a war of attrition, which can lead to more injuries. Don't really think it makes the tournament any better, personally think magners league is slightly highher standard (before any more narrow minded people wanna throw a comment or two at me claiming I was saying other tournaments compared to GP aren't as good or tough), but forwards game = more rucks = more injuries. Common sense to me. Suggestion: 1. maybe change rules at ruck dunno tis tough one 2. Accept it as part and parcel of a professional rugby career.
NB notice how there are no few injured english players in French League. Only really flutey! just a thought...

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Matt November 12, 2009 4:44 pm

Lmao!! No 7, the comment in the video was that England has 13 of their players out of the squad due to injuries, so I do not know where you see that Wales have more injuries unless I missed something??

No I do not think that the 220 hours out of 1000 are all England players, probably only 200 hoursAm only winding you up so relax buddy, go and put in some big hits on the pitch to reduce your testosterone levels (if you are English, make sure you have health insurance, wear shoulder pads, a scrum cap, mouth guard etc. etc. we dont want you to get injured)

On a serious note, like I said injuries are part of the game. We all love a big hit and it is sad when players get injured. It also spoils some games when you know that the opposition can not field a full strength squad, but the flip side is that at least the weaker teams get to cause an upset every now and then.

Just watch the video clip why I love rugby on the home page. Its a tough game and most players get injuries through out their professional careers. Some come back stronger and others bow out Look at Wilko, what a player! So many injuries and comes back stronger!

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Clean Break November 12, 2009 4:56 pm

Matt - it's highlighted because now is a time where there are more injuries than ever.

The fact that England are losing at the moment has nothing to do with it.

This video is not an excuse in case they lose again, if England we're no. 1 in the IRB world ranking and had the most injuries ever recorded we would still be 'trying' to have a discussion over whether it was because players we're spending too much time in the gym.

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Anonymous November 12, 2009 5:06 pm

gotta hate the broken fingers and fractured shoulders. but in the end, its worth playing the sport i love.

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No.7 November 12, 2009 5:12 pm

ok ok i see your point, i meant the injured welsh players...

but seriously i dont care if this was made by Eng or whatever, i think it does highlight something new in all areas (NH SH) of rugby.

and personally injured players isnt an excuse in my opinion....international teams are supposed to be best of best, but someone has to fill in for second best of the best.....i mean unless you have 13 injured hookers or something, or 13 injured 10's
which might prove interesting.

P.s I wear a scrumcap if i play lock, and a gumshield anygame....i dont want my teeth knocked out and i dont want cauliflower ears....is there a problem with that?

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Anonymous November 12, 2009 5:16 pm

not enough rest, to many games in the NH. THE SH doesnt have a problem. The NH will just have to except playing less games for less money. simple.

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creggs08 November 12, 2009 5:31 pm

everyone says ice hockey and american football suffer from less injury time. but look at how much padding those guys have on. it takes on average 15 minutes just for a player to get all padded up for an ice hockey match.

when we make a tackle its pure body mass hitting another body.

of course there are going to be slightly more injuries....i bet if you took all the padding out off ice hockey and A football they would have a few more injuries....

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Bobby Nations November 12, 2009 5:41 pm

rehanb, you raise an interesting point about the number of tackles that a rugby player will make in a game versus the number that an American footballer or ice hockey player will make. I'll leave off discussion of ice hockey, as I've never played the game.

On the surface, your point makes sense b/c statistics count the number of tackles and apart from linebackers, most players make few of those in a game. Where the statistics let you down is the number of collisions that an American footballer experiences, not necessarily tackles. This is significant b/c basically every player on each side blocks or hits someone on every play. The only ones not really in on the hit parade would be the safeties, wide receivers, and corner backs as there are some plays where they're just running down the field. Of course, those are offset by the plays that a receiver does participate, and often times in a spectacularly violent fashion.

Having played both rugby and American football, I can attest that American football is far more violent. People often view the pads as giving protection when the opposite is actually the case. The padding makes the collisions more violent b/c it protects the hitter.

IMHO, the difference in injury rates between the two codes comes down to simply the amount of games played. A professional in the NFL will play 18 games in a year unless his team goes to the playoffs where you'll add 3 to 4 at most. There are 4 or so pre-season games, but they are more akin to a friendly in terms of intensity and the main members of the team play precious little in them. So, a starter on an NFL team will play between 18 and 22 games a year.

Compare the professional rugby player, and you'll see that they play probably twice as many games assuming that they are also playing at the international level. I'm guessing that a top flight player might easily be involved in 30 to 40 matches a year, which is quite a difference.

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Greiffel November 12, 2009 5:41 pm

Does anyone read what's written in the articles on here? It seems like some of these comments are based purely on the video. Pity.

My opinion btw - too much rugby. It might have something to do with poor crowd attendances in some places too..

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Bobby Nations November 12, 2009 5:48 pm

Oops, got a statistic wrong in my last post. The NFL plays 16 regular season games each year, not 18. There is talk of adding another 2 games, but the players union is balking at the idea. Interestingly, their number one concern is the increase risk of injury!

BTW, No. 7, ice hockey is played on a concrete surface overlayed with a thin sheet of ice. Without the pads, every fall or slip would be damaging to say the least. You wouldn't even need to hit anybody ;-)

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No.7 November 12, 2009 6:10 pm

huh, i didnt mention ice hockey :S

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Bobby Nations November 12, 2009 6:12 pm

No. 7 -- sorry, I mistyped. I meant for that to be a response to creggs08's comment.

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a-okay November 12, 2009 6:53 pm

This may be what AndyMo was talking about...a bit lengthy, but shows just how often injuries occur (1.4 serious injuries per game?!).

http://www.sportsinjurybulletin.com/archive/rugby-cricket-injury.html

I'm not about to jump into any debate over which sport is tougher, I just wanted to point out that the high incidence of injury in rugby compounded with it going pro - rugby fans may start to suffer from what some American football fans (unfortunately) suffer from...where you have a star player out on injury for almost an entire season, and you're wondering why he's still getting paid the millions from his contract. It's a selfish thing for a fan to do, but it makes sense if the team you root for is poorer off because of it - that's money that would apparently be better off paying for a newer, non-injured player. Professionalism definitely has its darker side...

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a-okay November 12, 2009 6:56 pm

Whoops, that link was meant to be an addition to what was already mentioned in the article description for the video.

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Anonymous November 12, 2009 7:27 pm

why is every body compering it to nfl and others sports like ice hockey, they have bout 5 mins between each play in nfl and the subs fly on and off in ice hockey.
its just the nature of the game now, players are getting payed more and are expected to be bigger and stronger and to play week in week out and a high level.

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Anonymous November 12, 2009 8:12 pm

I didnt watch this cause i dont like to see broken bones :(

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Anonymous November 12, 2009 9:33 pm

rugby has fewer injuries than people (americans in particular) would expect from a contact sport with no pads. the nature of the game makes you always face your apponent while Ice hockey and NFL you get blindsided and blocked off the ball/puck. without pads those games would be death. even though the playes are bigger in the NFL and are on a stop, start format and put 100% per play, then rest for a minute everyone is involved all the plays but you dont play the whole game, maybe half a game if that (offense - defense, special teams).
Rugby on the otherhand is 80 min full pace everyone is always running but not always hitting less substitutions and more games per year. the conditioning of the teams is for strength and indurace. all players should be able to fill in anywere on the field if need be. technique in tackling and being tackled also plays a huge roll in not getting injured. Football players are just powerhouses specifically taylored to their possition. If america put as much money and time into rugby the eagles would be a very formidible team. I have started to go off topic quite a bit and lost my train of thought a while back.. The reason you are still reading this is beyond me but prehaps you have a lot of free time.. I don't have that much yet managed to do some procrastinating and write this nugget of nonsense. anyone is free to use my quotes if they want. (This started out with having a point but lost it's way. I appologise) -bob

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No.7 November 12, 2009 9:44 pm

Lol bob i do that too in my long comments....

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Anonymous November 12, 2009 10:25 pm

The focus on the size of players in the pack and backs is becoming more and more important imo. It seems almost mandatory now that you need to be at least 115 kgs to be in the front row at the top level with guys these days creeping up to 125-130kgs . I don't see how this 'problem' can be 'solved'.

Maybe reduce the number of interchanges so players need to play longer, hence be fitter, hence leaner? But then again wouldn't more playing time being fatigued expose them to a higher chance of injury?

Someone above me said the reason why injury time per 1000 hours is greater in rugby than american football is because rugby players spend more time on the field per game. Does that mean reducing their playing time will reduce injuries? Will having unlimited interchanges reduce injuries? Think of the side effects of this though with players only playing 5-10 minutes at a time they could get away with being over 130 kgs which is what you see in american football.

I understand player safety is important but if the game gets pendantically over-refereed in the name of safety I think that will turn fans off.....

I'm interested to see how rugby league compares with their injury rates being more collision and tackle focused than union, but less contact based in terms of scrums and rucks.

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Jon November 12, 2009 10:44 pm

It is a valid point that there wasn't any of this hyperbole until England and the Lions had a bad run of injuries.
I doubt there would be this consternation if it were Australia or France with a similar toll.
But anyway, the key is reducing the number of games players have to play.
30 or 32 is a fairly good number. Prevents too many injuries and keeps the players fresh.

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Anonymous November 12, 2009 10:56 pm

"We are reaching a level where the players have got too big for their skill levels," said Lions team doctor James Robson at the end of their tour of South Africa in July.

Too big for their skill levels? What does that mean? That players size infringes on their skill levels?

"Players have become a little too muscle-bound and bulky," he added.

Is he talking from a medical perspective or a rugby perspective?

It's interesting when injuries happen one player at a time it is acceptable. When they happen all at once it becomes an issue.

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Anonymous November 12, 2009 11:33 pm

Just because this is from an English news programme, doesn't mean that it's only the english who suffer from it. I'm not english, and i've been injured. Weird eh?

Anyways, this isn't about any particular country, so please stop pretending it is.

I think players now have it in their heads that biggest is best, but if you look at the likes of Shane Williams (at his best) it really isn't the case. Same with the likes of Jason Robinson.

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robert November 13, 2009 1:32 am

@bob .. thanks for the offer, the quote of yours I'd like to use is: "rest for a minute everyone"

I just think it's a good bit of advice for the world in general.

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carl November 13, 2009 1:43 am

Yeah, you don't have to be BIG to be STRONG (perfect case - even though he's still rather large compared to the non-forward or non-rugby world - is Heinrich Brussow). But there is that tendency that if you've got more muscle, you've got more cushion in impact scenarios. Look at Dan Carter and Jonny Wilkinson, for example. Both are rather large fly-halfs, but it seems like a good idea...fly-halfs get tackled a lot - maybe most out of any back (dunno if that's true...), and it helps when tackling as well since they've got to sometimes tackle forwards more than wingers do, for example. But then you've got Giteau who's on the smaller side, but still a superior first five-eighth. So, again, size is clearly not a defining factor in how good a player is.

I don't think the game has changed much from the 70s where lean guys ran around playing amateur international-level matches...but does anyone know, on average, how many games someone like JPR Williams would've played per year? Is it really that much less than gets played nowadays?

And I thought most NH teams already had a cap on how many games could be played a year - isn't that why the players returning from the Lions tour had to miss out on the first few games of the Magners League (dunno if the GP has the same policy or not)?

Also, Aussies don't have their own domestic club competition, right, so does that mean they usually play fewer games a year than countries that DO have domestic cup tournaments? And if so, do they, on average, have less injured players? It'd be interesting if that were the case...

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Jon November 13, 2009 2:19 am

In terms of numbers of injuries, I don't know, anything I said would be circumstantial.
Aus does have domestic comps, they are just not national or fully profesional, they're state based and semi-pro.
Wallabies do occaisonally play in them though.
The point is there's three tiers of preformance in Aus, national level, S14 and then the state comps.
All are counted in the total 32 games per year.
Players could easily play more games than that, if they didn't have that agreement in place.
And it would result in more injuries.
Thing is injuries are a part of rugby, always will be.
Leaguye has been dealing with it for decades. Basically it just happens, and you deal with it.
Beyond managing players work loads you can't do anything else.
There's absolutley no way to stop players lifting more weights or not hitting as hard.

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Canadian Content November 13, 2009 2:23 am

With the advent of professionalism, injuries were bound to follow. With more of the line players are willing to and more importantly, asked to sacrifice their bodies more.

I love rugby and believe its the greatest sport on earth, but to be honest, the collisions in American football are bigger. The difference, the game is managed better and the players get more rest. But don't kid yourself, American footballers are constantly getting injured.

The big hit is great, but the shoulder charge is sneaking into the game as is the reckless dive into the ruck while losing one's feet.

Rugby loves the spectacle of these events but it will be to the detriment of the players in the end.

Personally, I'd rather see the game managed better and watch Wilkinson play consistently rather spend copious amounts of time in the training room (he owned Giteau btw)

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McBull November 13, 2009 3:11 am

Notice how the Boks rarely get injured. Remember Habananana taking out two thirds of the front row in one hit? South Africa: we breed 'em hard.

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Jon November 13, 2009 3:19 am

Wilkinson owned Gitaeu?
WTF Canadian?? Were you watching the same game? Gitaeu set up a try and was constantly a danger on attack.
Wilkinson kicked well and tackled well but couldn't create anything for his team.
By the way, there are no more injuries as a reuslt of shoulder charges, it just doesn't work that way. Most injuries are joint injuries, too much strain on the knee, shoulder or neck for example.
It happens in any kind of contact, shoulder charges are absolutley no more likely to cause it.

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Anonymous November 13, 2009 4:25 am

Canadian, sorry to say but American football is full of Americans. Very soft people, have you seen the size of their pads? I wonder how long one of those obese line blockers could run for before they die from choking on too much air.

As for Wilkinson vs Giteau...

Wilkinson was easily better, almost everyone admitted it. He was creating everything for his team with little kicks through and massive tackles on locks.

Sorry, Giteau is yet another overrated Australian - does not pass, always tries to score by himself... very selfish player.

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a-okay November 13, 2009 4:48 am

Seriously, anonymous? He doesn't pass? He's a flyhalf...about all they do is pass (and kick). Actually, that's not true; we've got a flyhalf on our team who doesn't pass and DOES try to run every play...there's a reason he's usually a center and only plays no. 10 when the first few choices are injured. Giteau is FAR from that selfish...so, c'mon. Tone the hyperboles down a bit, why don't ya.

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Bakkies Botha is my November 13, 2009 6:05 am

ja the numberr 10 is about reading the game and making the right choices now. gitto may pass on sometime but usually not at the right momentt. when it come time to offload he more often hit the line harrd

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Ted November 13, 2009 7:55 am

I'm no expert in American Football, but isn't there a huge disparity in your career length depending on your position? For every quarter back like Brett Favre who plays for ten or twenty years, there are running backs who last three years tops and are then screwed for life.

Is there a similar disparity in rugby? Perhaps there used to be - props got injured more than other positions, but it seems to me people get serious injuries these days whether they play 1 or 15.

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goodNumber10 November 13, 2009 8:02 am

just so people understand, this video is made by the BBC and obviously focuses on english and welsh injury problems.

But it's findings and base data is from an independent enquiry by the IRB into increasing serious injuries within the game.

The belief that the games got to big and powerful is lead by the IRB - NOT england.

Now can we stop calling each other retards and maybe actually discuss whats going on injury wise?

The tendency in League over the last few years has been to downsize and look at speed & skill rather then bulk, as that's generally what will win you games.

I see Union following suite soon as defences need to be unlocked somehow, and just being a big lump dosen't do it any more. Look at the try's scored at the weekend, and all the breaks, hardly any of them were from huge guys just smashing ti up, they were all from skillful players who exploited mistakes by their opposition.

The game will downsize, alas england will be about 6 years behind the rest of the world in realising that winning international rugby is all about controlling the tempo fo the game- 15 big bruisers isn't going to do that.

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Anonymous November 13, 2009 9:36 am

Injuries will always be synonymous with Rugby. The game will never be injury free unless the dynamics and rules of the game change drastically. (which no one wants) Although we can learn from other sports like american football and rugby league, despite what Strong thinks.

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Anonymous November 13, 2009 9:47 am

goodnumber10, this sites for rugby not league

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ConnachtFan November 13, 2009 9:48 am

Just want to thank everyone for the refreshingly fresh and civil discussion debate. RD has been getting ruined by people slagging each other off ( NH vs SH,etc etc) which ruins the spirit and ethos ( not to mention hard work down by RD!) Thumbs up to everyone who ignores idiot Anonymous posters or flame based comments. Looking forward to the Novemeber internationals this weekend!! and no matter who you support, I hope you also have a great time watching our beautiful game!

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Andy November 13, 2009 10:11 am

Interesting point goodnumber10.

I disagree though because with the professional era i think the game has become all about percentages, retaining posession, winning at all costs, jobs depend on it. SO if you've got lumps that bash it up, gain 5 yards and retain the ball every time, you're going to get penalties, drop kicks, tries etc. With the backs why have a small guy with speed and power when you can have a big guy with speed and power. In terms of unlocking defences you are right, guys like Williams, J Robinson etc have that explosivenes but you wouldn't want your back line full of them, especially in the modern era when when every inch of ground is valuable.

Hope that makes sense, can't be bothered to go through checking it.

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Anonymous November 13, 2009 10:31 am

I apologize if anybody before me has written anything like this, loads of the comments got incredibly long and quite repetitive so I'm just jumping in to share my opinion.

I can't think of any logical way to prevent the amount of injuries that occur in professional rugby. People are claiming that a fewer number of games would be a good idea, even though I understand, I kind of disagree. Imagine (for us NH boys) that all of a sudden there were less games to go see, possibly resulting in fewer teams in tournaments such as the Heineken cup, Guinness Premiership for example.

One possible thought would be to have a 30 man squad, one player on the bench to replace each player in the starting XV. This would be good for developing academy players but not so good for the veterans. I just don't know how anything can be changed for the benefit of the sport without completely transforming it into a different sport.

Any thoughts? I can't set up an account because whenever I try, all the page is in Chinese (I live in Hong Kong) but yeah, if anybody reads this and has anything to say, call me Will M.

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Ted November 13, 2009 11:23 am

Will M (by the way mate you don't have to have an account to leave a name, just click on 'Name/URL' and you can type one in)

As always it comes down to money. There are more games because the unions and the clubs want to make more money. Clubs do have 30 man squads but the back-up players aren't as good, you can't afford have 30 superstars especially if 15 of them are bench-warmers.

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Anonymous November 13, 2009 11:59 am

"Bottom line is the English are not tough enough for the game and should play football. Rugby is a mans game"

What a stupid comment by that idiot Joshua, in case you don't know mate, England invented rugby, and without them we wouldn't have the privilege of playing rugby, so shut your mouth

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Joe November 13, 2009 5:34 pm

The ONLY thing you can do is reduce the number of games players have to play.
32 is more than enough for any player each year.
They'll still get injured but not as much.
To be honest even 32 games is alot, but any less than that would be too little.
You can't expect players to play in four or five competitions each year with as many as 40-45 games a year and not be broken down wrecks.
It's rugby, it's physical and punishing. Players need time to recover.

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Anonymous November 13, 2009 6:09 pm

DIANABOL is the answer im afraid. its part of the game now.

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Anonymous November 13, 2009 7:25 pm

These guys need better pay. If they think they suffer now, wait till later.
Top flight Rugby is the ultimate game... only the hardest and cleverest need apply.

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Redron November 13, 2009 11:18 pm

Interesting discussion. If I'm perfectly frank though I think any increase in injuries has almost nothing to do with increases in size and strength. It has something to do with how coaches are coaching players.

If I'm told to hit rucks at 100mph with my shoulder and head forwards then of course I'm going to do it. If I'm told to smash the other team then of course I'm going to do it. Collision tackles are prevalent in top flight rugby now, and I love it.

Theres no real way to stop it, its just the nature of the professional and modern game. Less games is a good suggestion, but aside than that any changes would have to be pretty radical and I would rather not have the sport I love blown to smithereens by the sensitives marching in the streets.

Rugby players know what they're getting into when they step onto the field. Deal with it.

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No.7 November 14, 2009 2:38 pm

I guess you wouldnt step into a boxing ring with accepting you may be punched in the face.....

....you shouldnt step on a rugby field without accepting you might be the one who gets a bit messed up :-/

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captainamerica November 14, 2009 8:34 pm

clearly the answer is less matches played, for all the obvious reasons. but there's another good thing about less matches: less Test matches too. there are far too many.

the value of a Test has been greatly reduced, definitely in terms of importance.

-the Bledisloe Cup is dull. the original format was much better. 2 games, and decided for that year. harsh, but fair. now it's some grotesque, elongated tease.

-the 6 Nations still has some decency, mercifully because they are one-offs, but the expanded Tri-Nations is revolting. i'm talking about this 3-against-each-Nation slop we've been forced to stomach the past few years (excepting 2007). it's been a truly pornographic idea hatched before our eyes. roll on Argentina, and home-and-away.

-November is getting fat. too fat for rugby.

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Anonymous November 14, 2009 8:38 pm

I believe that it is due to the length of the seasons played!! compared to sports lk american football the contact area can be as bad although their season is around 5 months. in rugby you get approx 2 months off! surely for a player to be training and playing 10months of the year and only havin 2 to recuperate isnt a good ratio! (last season i got 1 month off as i played 7s during the summer.... this season im sidelined as i wrecked my SC joint)
For players spending more time in the gym puttin on muscles mass, i believe that in ways it is a good idea. more muscle mass can protect the body from impacts, but on the other hand players are getting 2 big 2 quickly and therfore puttin so much strain on their body 2 adapt to this mass gain...hence injuries. also players are spending more time in the gym and not on the training ground and therefore reducing their skill levels! could this be another possibilty to the increase in injuries!?

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Bowie November 14, 2009 10:44 pm

Adam Jones was a stunning mrs.

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Bowie November 14, 2009 10:45 pm

has*

think I've got brain damage from the rugby I played today :(

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high speed November 14, 2009 10:54 pm

we all wouldnt play if it wasnt a contact sport theres things happen but playing the game we accept the fact that we might get injered makes the game bit better i think

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No.7 November 15, 2009 2:41 am

"think I've got brain damage from the rugby I played today :("

(too much professional rugby lol!)

I guess you gotta think of the old 'if you dont hurt after a game, you didnt play hard enough!'

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benedictation January 01, 2010 12:43 pm

I think a big problem is the substitution rules. When a player gets injured slightly, they dont want to go off because they cant come back on unless bleeding, so they keep playing wich then aggrivates the injury more and they get seriously hurt.
I think an interchange rule like in rugby league would be better where you can come off and go back on once the doctors have looked at the injury and assesed it further, or keep you off if it is too bad.

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JoseCtesArg January 22, 2010 5:51 pm

Well said, Benedictation. Changing substitution rules may help a lot to alleviate the current rate of injuries

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