Rugby Injuries

Article by Fraser Power

Common Rugby Injuries

Rugby is a fast-moving and high-intensity team sport. Although historically dominated by males, the sport is gaining popularity among females.

rugby injuries

As many as 1 in 4 rugby players will be injured during the season. On average each player performs 20- 40 tackles per match. Almost 25% of neck injuries occur when there is a mismatch in experience between the two opposing front rows.

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

  • Rugby injury rates are reported to be nearly three times higher than soccer.
  • Most injuries are experienced by 10-18 year olds.
  • Adults aged 25–34 years have also been found to be at high risk.

When Do Rugby Injuries Occur?

  • More injuries occur during matches (57%) than in training, and more often in the second half of the game.
  • Approximately half of all injuries occur while a player is tackling or being tackled.

Which Rugby Players Suffer the Most Injuries?

  • Hookers and flankers sustain the most injuries.
  • Forwards are more frequently injured than backs because of their greater involvement in physical collisions and tackles.
  • In the backs, wings, fullbacks and centres are at the highest risk of injury.
  • In the scrum, the locks are at greatest risk of facial cuts and cauliflower ear (external deformity to the ear caused by repeated blows.
  • Players in rucks and mauls commonly suffer injuries to fingers and thumbs as well as abrasions and lacerations from cleats.

What Kinds of Injuries Occur in Rugby?

  • Over 40% of injuries are muscular strains or contusions (bruising), 30% are sprains, followed by dislocations, fractures, lacerations, and overuse injuries.
  • Sprained ankles are a common injury with ankle sprains representing almost 1 in 7 rugby injuries.
  • Between 5-25% of rugby injuries are head injuries, including concussions.
  • In youth aged 10-18 years, 35% of injuries are fractures, of which 24% involve the clavicle. 
  • Superficial injuries represent 20% of rugby injuries, followed by head injuries and sprains (16%). 
  • Of the head injuries, 44% are concussions.

Pre-Season Preparation is Important

More injuries occur at the beginning of a season, suggesting that pre-season conditioning could reduce injuries.

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

Injury prevention strategies to reduce the incidence, severity and cost of rugby injuries could include coaching on defensive skills, correct tackling technique, correct falling technique and methods to minimise the absorption of impact forces in tackles.

To reduce scrummaging injuries at lower rugby levels, props should crouch, touch, pause and then engage. This technique is called Depowering the Scrum. Another alternative is Sequential Engagement where the front rows engage first and then the second row joins in so that a stable scrum is established.

Source: The British Columbia Injury Research and Prevention Unit

rugby injury

ARU Sports Injury Insurance

ARU Rugby Players are covered by ARU’s "Sportscover Insurance".

The insurers will reimburse you for 100% of your non-medicare treatment costs up to $3000, which includes your physiotherapy costs. There is a $100 excess.

The Claim Form and Online Claim Lodgement is available here: au/rugby

Claim Form (pdf)

More info: Phone 1800 811 371. Ask for the ARU Insurance Team


Common Rugby Injuries

Knee Pain

Adolescent Knee:

Ankle Injuries

Foot Pain

Groin Pain

Hip Pain

Back Pain

Shoulder Pain

Muscle Pain

Neck Pain

Wrist / Hand Injuries

Common Adolescent Football Injuries

Knee Pain

Heel Pain


Injury Prevention

The Gap Football Club Physio

Football Injury Risk Screening

Injury Prevention Strategies

Call PhysioWorks Book Online

Common Rugby Treatments

  • Early Injury Treatment
  • Avoid the HARM Factors
  • Soft Tissue Injury? What are the Healing Phases?
  • What to do after a Muscle Strain or Ligament Sprain?
  • Acupuncture and Dry Needling
  • Sub-Acute Soft Tissue Injury Treatment
  • Core Exercises
  • Scapular Stabilisation Exercises
  • Rotator Cuff Exercises
  • Closed Kinetic Chain Exercises
  • Active Foot Posture Correction Exercises
  • Gait Analysis
  • Biomechanical Analysis
  • Balance Enhancement Exercises
  • Proprioception & Balance Exercises
  • Agility & Sport-Specific Exercises
  • Medications?
  • Real Time Ultrasound Physiotherapy
  • Soft Tissue Massage
  • Walking Boot
  • ACL Injury Prevention
  • Ankle Strapping
  • Brace or Support
  • Electrotherapy & Local Modalities
  • Heat Packs
  • Joint Mobilisation Techniques
  • Kinesiology Tape
  • Knee Arthroscopy
  • Neurodynamics
  • Prehabilitation
  • Running Analysis
  • Strength Exercises
  • Stretching Exercises
  • Supportive Taping & Strapping
  • TENS Machine
  • Video Analysis
  • Yoga
  • rugby injuries

    FAQ's about Rugby Injuries

  • Common Physiotherapy Treatment Techniques
  • What is Pain?
  • Physiotherapy & Exercise
  • How Does Kinesiology Tape Reduce Swelling?
  • What Causes Post-Exercise Muscular Pain?
  • The Best Core Exercises
  • Heat Packs. Why does heat feel so good?
  • How Does an Exercise Ball Help Back Pain?
  • How to Strap an Ankle
  • Post-Run Soreness: Should You Be Concerned?
  • Rotator Cuff: What is it?
  • Sports Injury? What to do? When?
  • What are Common Adolescent / Children Leg Injuries?
  • What are Growing Pains?
  • What are the Early Warning Signs of an Injury?
  • What is a TENS Machine?
  • What is Chronic Pain?
  • What is Nerve Pain?
  • What is Sports Physiotherapy?
  • What's the Benefit of Stretching Exercises?
  • What's Your Core Stability Score?
  • When is the Best Time for a Pre-Event Massage?
  • Helpful Products for Rugby Players

    Rugby Union Injuries

    Call PhysioWorks Book Online

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    Last updated 05-May-2016 06:13 PM

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