OBJECTIVE--To investigate injuries in international rugby football. METHODS--All injuries that led to temporary stoppage of the game or to the substitution of a player during the Rugby World Cup prequalifying tournament were recorded. Six matches were played, involving the Arabian Gulf, Kenya, Namibia, and Zimbabwe. RESULTS--47 injuries were recorded, giving an injury rate of eight per match. The number of injuries decreased from 38.3% in the first matches to 23.4% in the final ones. The most serious injury was a concussion and the majority of the injuries affected soft tissues. Anatomically, the lower limbs suffered most injuries (46.8%), followed by the head (21.3%), trunk (17.0%), and upper limbs (12.8%). Slightly more injuries occurred in the defensive half of the field of play (53.2%) than in the offensive half (46.8%). More injuries occurred in the second half (61.7%) than in the first half (38.3%). CONCLUSIONS--Protective equipment should be introduced to minimise the number and seriousness of injuries in rugby.
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