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International

Injuries Are Not on the Rise in Rugby and Concussion is Decreasing

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Photo by Mike Hewitt/Getty Images

This week many in the rugby world met to discuss a dedicated player welfare and laws symposium in Marcoussis.

The aim is to ensure that players health and fitness is prioritised over everything. It’s first step is to shape the game post Rugby World Cup 2019 in Japan and the underpinning consideration is to reduce the risk of injury.

Members from unions, professional leagues, leading medics, researchers, scientists, players, coaches and lawmakers came together for the three-day event and evaluated data they have collected over the last cycle in order to make the next cycle as successful as possible.

They found that since 2014 the overall ball in play time has increased by 14% to 39 minutes, which subsequently means that the number of tackles, rucks and passes per game have increased.

The data which is taken from 22 elite competitions across the globe also found that the overall number of injuries has not increased, and concussion has actually dropped by 14% over the 2017/18 season.

This is the first time that concussion has dropped in the sport.

The tackle was found to account for 50% of all injuries, although that figure is decreasing. However, the tackle accounts for 76% of all concussions, with 72% of all concussions sustained are by the tackler.

World Rugby chairman Bill Beaumont talked through the plan they hope to implement over the four-years following Japan.

“The objective of the symposium was to bring together playing, coaching, medical and law experts to identify and explore potential law changes to further injury-prevention while promoting game simplicity, accessibility and spectacle. We have made great progress in recent years. While it is evident from the latest detailed data that ball in play time and the number of tackles is increasing in elite rugby, the overall injury rate is not increasing globally and the concussion rate appears to be decreasing for the first time,” he said.

He also added that this is the first step in progressing player welfare within the game.

“However, we always strive to do more to protect our players and reduce the risk of injury. This forum was an important first collaborative step and the delegates identified a number of recommendations for our rugby committee to consider,” he said.

The outcomes of the symposium include a law trail; With injury-prevention at the heart of the new four-year quadrennial law review cycle, the delegates proposed a number of evidence-based areas for potential law for trial, which World Rugby will now evaluate in detail via the expert law review group.

A law application; World Rugby to implement a high tackle sanctioning framework to promote sanction consistency and public understanding.

The training loads of a player will now be noted starting in this year’s World Cup as players must have a “load passport” in which everything is logged to ensure the best-practice training load.

Injury surveillance that was implemented on January 1st which states a HIA must include; a) undertake detailed injury surveillance in line with World Rugby standards to create one comprehensive annual set of comparable and definitive global data, b) operate a match day doctor at every match, c) implement minimum video review standards and d) enable World Rugby representation on any HIA review panel.

Unions are now encouraged to adopt the Activate injury-prevention warm-up programme that was developed by the RFU and the University of Bath. This found a 50% decrease in concussions and a 40% reduction in injuries when used at least three times a week.

There will be more education at all levels on the tackle to continue the reduction of injuries in the area.

It is great to see the game become safer and hopefully with meetings and plans like this it continues in the right direction.

International

England Demolish Terrible Ireland

England set new records against Ireland in what was a stand-out performance from the home side

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(Photo by Warren Little/Getty Images)

England thrashed Ireland 57-15 at Twickenham on Saturday afternoon in what was a record win for the English over their visitors.

Eddie Jones’ side secured a record points total against Ireland surpassing their previous 50 points scored against the Irish 19 years ago, while the win also gave them a record winning margin over the men in green.

The home side started well with captain Owen Farrell knocking over a penalty as early as the 7th minute.

However, Ireland bounced back with a Jordan Larmour try coming within two minutes of that score and Ross Byrne kicked the conversion to make it 7-3.

Ireland gave up their lead as quickly as they gained it when England broke out right with Elliot Daly providing the killer pass for Joe Cokanasiga to stroll over for five-points. Farrell couldn’t provide the extras, but it was 8-7 with 12 minutes on the clock.

The game became a more even contest over the next ten minutes with Ireland only getting the next score on 25 minutes courtesy of a brilliant 42 metre Byrne penalty.

That was the best it got for Ireland as Daly and man of the match Manu Tuilagi got in for further tries before half-time to leave it at 22-10 going into the second-half.

Things went from bad to worse for the Irish in the second period with England scoring a try five minutes in as an over-thrown line-out was gathered up and Maro Itoje burst through the defence to touchdown under the posts.

The floodgates were well and truly open after that try as Itoje’s second-row partner George Kruis got in on the try-scoring act in the 53rd minute and was followed up by Tom Curry who scored the team’s sixth try four minutes later.

Cokanasiga made a wonderful break through the Irish defence to score his second try of the game on 65 minutes to make it 50-10 with another Farrell conversion.

Ireland fought back late on and a brilliant step from Bundee Aki left him in the English 22 where he raced down the touchline and dived in for a try while holding off Daly.

England got the last laugh however as substitute Luke Cowan-Dickie caught an over-thrown Irish line-out and barged over for their eighth and final try. Farrell converted to leave it at 57-15 to the hosts.

A worrying sign for the English was the late yellow card received by Kruis who was fortunate not to see red as well as Mako Vunipola’s departure from the game after coming on as a sub.

Ireland will need to dust themselves down quickly and sort out their problems as they head to the Principality next weekend to face Wales, while England will hope that this is the start of what’s to come as they look more and more like World Cup contenders.

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International

Mallinder Leaves RFU for Scotland

Jim Mallinder is set to depart the RFU and take up a role with Scotland

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(Photo by Steve Bardens - RFU/The RFU Collection via Getty Imagesges)

Jim Mallinder has been confirmed as Scottish Rugby’s new performance director following Scott Johnson’s departure earlier this year.

By taking up the new role in Scotland Mallinder leaves the Rugby Football Union where he has been for some time.

Mallinder admitted that he is sad to leave the RFU behind, but he is also looking forward to his new challenge.

“I’m sad to be leaving the RFU as I’ve really enjoyed my time here, in particular getting to work with some fantastic people in a wide range of roles within the men’s pathway. I will miss working with them all but this was an opportunity that I couldn’t refuse. It’s a chance to lead a long-term programme, work with talented people, and I’m looking forward to moving up to Scotland and getting started,” he said.

Mallinder worked in the English club game for a while, leading the likes of the England Saxons and recently lead an England XV to victory over the Barbarians.

RFU professional director of rugby Nigel Melville thanked Mallinder for his service and wished him luck in his new role.

“I’d like to thank Jim for all the work he’s done within the player pathway over the past year and, on behalf of everyone at the RFU, wish him all the best for his new role with Scottish Rugby,” he said.

Mallinder brings plenty of experience having coached Sale Sharks and Northampton Saints in the Premiership, as well as coaching the England U21’s to the Six Nations in 2006 and working with many underage teams in England during his time.

His new role will see him take over a leading role in the Scotland’s new Super6 competition for semi-professional players, while he will also look after player development, the Scotland Sevens team and the Scotland Women’s team in what is a huge challenge for the now former RFU man.

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International

Farrell Starts at Centre for England

England head coach Eddie Jones has confirmed his England side to take on Ireland this weekend

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(Photo by David Rogers/Getty Images)

England head coach Eddie Jones has announced his 23-man squad to play Ireland in his side’s third World Cup warm-up game this Saturday at Twickenham.

Following last weekend’s 13-6 defeat to Wales Jones is hoping his side will bounce back against a team they dominated away from home earlier this year in the Six Nations and Jones has chosen to pick Owen Farrell to test out a different side to the one who lost to the Welsh.

In the front-row Joe Marler starts alongside Jamie George and Kyle Sinckler, with Maro Itoje and George Kruis behind them against the second-row.

The back-row is made up of Tom Curry and Sam Underhill on either side of Billy Vunipola in what is a formidable looking pack.

 Ben Youngs tarts in at scrum-half and is joined by George Ford who continues at fly-half, with captain Farrell opening at inside centre and Manu Tuilagi beside him at outside centre.

Jonny May takes the 11 jersey, while Joe Cokanasiga is on the right-wing and Elliot Daly completes the starting XV from full-back.

On the bench they have the likes of Courtney Lawes and Jonathan Joseph joined by Mako Vunipola and Mark Wilson to call on, with the latter two set return from injury.

England will want to avoid a second defeat in a row heading into the World Cup and a win for them would see them leap over South Africa into fourth place in the World Rankings.

Check Out the Full 23-Man Squad Below.

Starting XV:

Elliot Daly; Joe Cokanasiga, Manu Tuilagi, Owen Farrell, Jonny May; George Ford, Ben Youngs; Joe Marler, Jamie George, Kyle Sinckler; Maro Itoje, George Kruis; Tom Curry, Sam Underhill, Billy Vunipola. 

Replacements:

 Luke Cowan-Dickie, Mako Vunipola, Dan Cole, Courtney Lawes, Mark Wilson, Willi Heinz, Piers Francis, Jonathan Joseph.

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