IRB Passport site:

We use cookies to help make this website better. To find out more about the cookies we use, please read our Cookies Policy. If you continue without changing your cookie settings, you consent to this use, but if you want, you can find information in our Cookies Policy about how to remove cookies by changing your settings.

Educational modules
Education and medical
Player Welfare Education
IRB Immediate Pitch Side Care Educational Modules (including First Aid In Rugby and Immediate Care in Rugby)
IRB Concussion Management Educational Modules
IRB Match Day Medical Staff Educational Module
IRB Rugby Ready
IRB Medical Guidelines & Documents
Concussion Management
Research & expert papers
Injury Surveillance - IRB Tournaments
Injury Surveillance - Professional Rugby
Injury Surveillance - Community Rugby
Expert papers
Game analysis / research general
Weight guideline considerations
IRB Conference Information
IRB Rugby Science Network
IRB Rugby Science Network
Artificial Surfaces
Natural Surfaces
Padded Clothing Regulation
Anti-doping regulation
IRB Regulation 21: Anti-Doping
Testing programme
Anti-doping testing programme
Anti-doping education
IRB Keep Rugby Clean
2008 - Injury risks associated with tackling in rugby union
Colin W Fuller, Tony Ashton, John H M Brooks, Rebecca J Cancea, John Hall, Simon P T Kemp

Overview of paper


To examine factors associated with tackles in rugby union and to assess their impact on the risk of injury.


Two-season (2003/2004 and 2005/2006) prospective cohort design with video analysis.


13 English Premiership clubs.


645 players.

Main outcome measure:

RR (95% CI) calculated by comparing the frequency of occurrence of risk factors in a cohort of players injured during tackles with their frequency of occurrence in tackles in general play.

Risk factors:

Playing position; player’s speed, impact force, head position, head/neck flexion and body region struck in the tackle; sequence, direction and type of tackle; and location and type of injury.


High-speed going into the tackle, high impact force, collisions and contact with a player’s head/neck were identified as significant (p<0.01) risk factors for ball carriers (BCs) and tacklers. Midfield backs were significantly (p<0.01) more prone to injury when tackling than other players. Relatively few tacklers were penalised by referees for collision tackles (general play: 2.0%; injured players: 3.3%) and tackles above the line of the shoulder (general play: 5.9%; injured players: 16.7%).


Advice in national and international injury prevention programmes for reducing the risk of injury in tackles is strongly supported by the results obtained from this study. These programmes should be reviewed, however, to provide specific advice for each type of tackle. Stricter implementation of the Laws of Rugby relating to collisions and tackles above the line of the shoulder may reduce the number of head/neck injuries sustained by BCs.

To read the text of this paper in full, visit:

British Journal of Sports Medicine

Copyright © International Rugby Board 2010-2014 | Terms & Conditions of Use | Privacy Policy | Cookies Policy