Rugby

Rugby a 'sport for freaks'

2013-11-26 09:01
Francois Louw (Getty Images)
Cape Town - A prominent UK surgeon is worried about the increasing number of injuries and fears rugby has become "a sport for freaks".

Two recent horrific injuries in the November international Test window saw Italy centre Luca Morisi have his spleen removed after suffering internal injuries against Fiji, while England hooker Dylan Hartley required treatment for a bruised lung after their  clash against the All Blacks.

Professor John Fairclough, an orthopaedic specialist who was president of the British Sports Trauma Association, told The Rugby Paper that rugby needs to somehow look at altering its rules, especially at rucks and mauls.

Fairclough said the game is not what it used to be and the way players clean each other at the ruck - especially when they're not braced for impact - is where serious injuries occur.

He said there are now so many big men playing behind the scrum that at the highest level it's become a game for those who are physically above the norm.

He continued by saying "it was a sport for all shapes and sizes, then it became a sport for freaks".

He referred to small and nippy Welsh players, Shane Williams and Leigh Halfpenny, who were forced to bulk up in order to remain competitive. Halfpenny has really struggled with injuries in his career.

Fairclough said it is inevitable that serious injuries will continue to rise as the human body is not meant to take that amount of force.


South Africa's Francois Louw recently injured his neck against Scotland after a cleanout at a ruck (Getty Images).

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