The nature and circumstances of tackle injuries in rugby union

J Sci Med Sport. 1999 Jun;2(2):153-62. doi: 10.1016/s1440-2440(99)80195-9.


This study describes the nature and circumstances of injury occurring in rugby union tackles (33% of 569 injury events) using data from the Rugby Injury and Performance Project (RIPP) and provides supplementary information on the nature of tackles involving injury from analysis of videotape of tackle injury events. The most common tackle injuries in the RIPP data were sprains/strains (41%) followed by haematomas/bruising (26%). The most frequently injured body sites were the head/neck/face (22%) and the knee (17%). The ball carrier and tackler were injured in tackles in similar proportions in both RIPP and New Zealand Rugby Football Union (NZRFU) video tackle incidents. Both players were most often in motion in the tackle at the time of injury with approximately 70% of injuries occurring when the injured player was running or diving/falling to the ground. Tackle injury was most often caused by impact with another player rather than impact with the ground. The use of protective padding may reduce the risk of impact injury. The majority of tackle injuries were associated with stopping tackles to the trunk which were from the front (63%), rather than from the side or behind. Thus consideration should be given to coaching strategies or to rule changes which reduce the likelihood or prohibit front-on tackles.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Athletic Injuries / prevention & control
  • Female
  • Football / injuries*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • New Zealand
  • Prospective Studies
  • Risk Factors