Objective: To determine the incidence, nature, and causes of match injuries sustained during Under-20 (U-20) international rugby.
Design: Prospective cohort study; definitions and procedures were compliant with the international consensus statement for epidemiological studies in rugby.
Setting: 2008 and 2010 IRB U-20 Junior World Championships and Junior World Rugby Trophies.
Participants: Nine hundred forty-one players representing 35 international teams.
Assessment of risk factors: Injuries reported as functions of playing position and nature and cause of injury.
Main outcome measures: Incidence, location, type, severity, and causes of match injuries.
Results: Incidence of injury was 57.2 per 1000 player-match-hours (forwards, 55.3; backs, 59.4) with a mean severity of 22.4 days (forwards, 27.7; backs, 16.9) and a median severity of 6 days (forwards, 8; backs, 6). Lower limb ligament (25.3%) and muscle (21.3%) pathologies were the main injuries. Most injuries were acute (90.4%) and sustained during tackles (45.1%) and collisions (17.7%).
Conclusions: The study showed that the overall risk of injury for players in international U-20 rugby is significantly lower than that reported at the full international level of play; the nature and causes of injury at U-20 are similar to those at the full international level of play.