Although heavy drinking has traditionally been associated with rugby, the drinking patterns of New Zealand rugby players have not been examined. Three hundred and forty-eight rugby players (257 males and 91 females), completed the Alcohol Use Disorders Identification Test (AUDIT) at the beginning of the 1993 rugby season. The mean AUDIT scores were 11.2 (SD = 5.1) for the males and 8.7 (4.1) for the females: a cut-off of 8.0 has been recommended by the developers of the instrument for identifying alcohol use disorders. The consumption of large quantities of alcohol, and a high frequency of heavy drinking sessions were the norm for this group. Sixty-one per cent of males and 38% of females consumed six or more drinks in a session at least weekly: typically, men drank 10 or more drinks in a session and women 5-6 drinks. The patterns of drinking exhibited by the cohort give cause for concern regarding the health risks associated with such behaviour.