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England rugby camp provide shocking injury statistics for Eddie Jones

10 January 2019

England will be eager to better their fifth place finish in last year's tournament, but the RFU now have their focus on the damning statistics recently surfacing regarding the England rugby team's injury troubles.

As a result of this increase, the overall burden of match injury - which is a combination of both incidence and severity - now stands at the highest level since Twickenham began records in 2002.

The latest figures are not likely to placate them either but Nigel Melville, the RFU's interim chief executive, said action is being taken after discussions with the Professional Game Board.

"Obviously global rugby is played at a greater intensity so training is at a greater intensity, so we are trying to manage that transition", he told journalists.

Meanwhile, injuries in contact training on England duty rose to 6.1 per 1,000 hours, double the study average. "We are trying to manage them and there are positive signs".

The report, which will provide the key focus areas of the Professional Game Action Plan on Player Injuries - a group formed by the RFU, Premiership Rugby and the Rugby Players' Association past year - also provided data on injuries suffered on artificial grass pitches.

For the seventh consecutive season, the most commonly reported match injury in the Premiership was concussion, accounting for 20 per cent of all injuries, though there was a slight fall in incidents from the previous year. This comes in the wake of news that French rugby has witnessed their fourth fatality in eight months.

The report said it was too early to draw conclusions from the lowering of the tackle height experiment being trialled in the Championship Cup in a bid to reduce the number of concussions, but there was still a concern that high tackles were not being policed firmly enough by officials. Nathan Soyeux, a 23-year-old student, passed away in Dijon on Monday after suffering injuries in a game in November.

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But rugby in general is under the gun over an escalating injury situation.

"There is strong evidence that while the likelihood of injury in the professional game appears to be stable, the increase in injury severity that we are seeing means that the overall burden of injury is increasing".

Simon Kemp, the RFU medical services director, felt referees needed to be dishing out more red and yellow cards for high tackles.

52% of all match injuries are associated with the tackle, with 28% of all injuries associated with tackling and 24% associated with being tackled - 2017-18 was the first season that the incidence of all injuries was greater for the tackler than the ball carrier.

The numbers suggest that there are no more injuries sustained by players who play on artificial grass pitches (AGP), but that those injured on the surface were injured for longer.

"However, the severity of match injuries on artificial turf is greater than that on natural grass, with an injury sustained on artificial turf lasting, on average, nine days more than one sustained on natural grass (natural grass, 30 days; artificial turf, 39 days)".

The report also highlighted the number of injuries affecting the tackler as opposed to the ball carrier.

England rugby camp provide shocking injury statistics for Eddie Jones