Are new laws behind the rise in rugby injuries?

3:21 AM Jhon 1 Comments

Questions are being asked of the rugby union’s lawmakers in the wake of a raft of injuries to top premiership players since the start of this season.

A recently published Rugby Football Union report says that the incidence of tackles, “involvements” and rucks has increased in premiership matches this season, and the number of collisions is also up. On the plus side, ball-in-play time has also increased.

Divided opinions

Several players and coaches have claimed that these increases are directly responsible for the lengthening injury list of high-profile players over the past weeks.

This was denied by World Rugby, whose recent law changes were introduced into northern hemisphere competitions from 1st July 2017. A spokesman claimed that its own comprehensive closed trials showed no adverse player welfare trends and added that it was too early to link changes in the rules to the growing injury list, suggesting the players' training load could be to blame. Rugby drills from websites such as can help players prepare.

The 11 changes to the rules included three to the contentious scrum area, which has been a problem for referees at all levels over the past few seasons and unpopular with fans. It is the three changes to the ruck area, however, that many believe could be contributing to injuries. Defending teams are committing fewer players at the breakdown, leading to more running space and collisions.

World Rugby said injury rates can fluctuate, but there hasn't been a global increase. A full analysis will be made once an entire season of data becomes available.


The Premiership, despite losing so many players during the first few weeks of the season, seem to agree with World Rugby. A spokesman for the league told the
BBC that it was impossible to draw any conclusions about injuries.

A number of club coaches and directors of rugby have, however, expressed their concerns. The Wasps’ Dai Young said there were 50 more collisions per match on average and that it was extremely difficult to protect the players.

World Rugby’s law review group will review the amendments at the domestic season’s end and make a recommendation regarding whether they should become permanent.

The RFU confirmed it will pass its findings on to World Rugby.

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