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.
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