Rugby World Cup 2011: International Rugby Board injury surveillance study

Br J Sports Med. 2013 Dec;47(18):1184-91. doi: 10.1136/bjsports-2012-091155. Epub 2012 Jun 9.


Objective: To determine the frequency and nature of injuries sustained during the IRB 2011 Rugby World Cup.

Design: A prospective, whole population survey.

Population: 615 international rugby players representing 20 teams competing at the IRB 2011 Rugby World Cup in New Zealand.

Method: The study was implemented according to the international consensus statement for epidemiological studies in rugby union; the main measures included the players' age (years), stature (cm) and body mass (Kg) and the incidence (number of injuries/1000 player-hours), mean and median severity (days absence), location (%), type (%) and cause (%) of match and training injuries.

Results: The incidences of injuries were 89.1/1000 player-match-hours (forwards: 85.0; backs: 93.8) and 2.2/1000 player-training-hours (forwards: 2.7; backs: 1.7). The mean severity of injuries was 23.6 days (forwards: 21.2; backs: 26.2) during matches and 26.9 (forwards: 33.4; backs: 14.3) during training. During matches, lower-limb muscle/tendon (31.6%) and ligament (15.8%) and, during training, lower-limb muscle/tendon (51.4%) and trunk muscle/tendon (11.4%) injuries were the most common injuries. The most common cause of injury during matches was the tackle (forwards: 43.6%, backs: 45.2%), and during training was full and semicontact skills activities.

Conclusion: The results confirm that rugby, like other full-contact sports, has a high incidence of injury: the results from IRB Rugby World Cup (RWC) 2011 were similar to those reported for RWC 2007.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Athletic Injuries / epidemiology
  • Athletic Injuries / etiology
  • Cervical Vertebrae / injuries
  • Craniocerebral Trauma / epidemiology
  • Craniocerebral Trauma / etiology
  • Extremities / injuries
  • Football / injuries*
  • Humans
  • Incidence
  • Male
  • Neck Injuries / epidemiology
  • Neck Injuries / etiology
  • New Zealand / epidemiology
  • Prospective Studies
  • Thoracic Injuries / epidemiology
  • Thoracic Injuries / etiology