Rough Time For The Injured Hard Men Of Sport

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Written By Mohsen Salami

Rugby players are among the hardest men in sport but also suffer some of the worst injuries.

In Britain, where the new rugby union season is underway, the shocking statistic is 82 players are missing injured from the rosters of the 12 Premier League teams.

Wasps have 15 players on the sidelined through injury.

While Pro14 side Dragons have 24 players reporting injured.

The latest casualty is Exeter and England wing Jack Nowell, who is out for at least two months with a fractured cheek bone and eye socket.

“Jack has got a couple of fractures in the top of his cheek and eye socket and it looks as if it will require surgery to settle it down,” said Exeter director of rugby Rob Baxter.

Crisis in rugby union

This season looks like one of the worst ever for injuries after eight years of static figures from the Rugby Football Union’s annual injury audit. The latest update is scheduled for January 2018 and should reveal the current state of the crisis.

Some say an injury to one player opens the door for another, but having enough strength in depth to cover with a third or fourth pick when first teamers and their reserves are out for the long term is causing problems for many teams.

Dragons coach Bernard Jackman has 48% of his squad reporting as injured.

“There seems to be a crisis in the sport, and it’s not just our club. It seems to be getting worse,” he said.

Dread of Monday meetings

“The most important meeting of the week for me is the Monday morning one, when you get the assessment of what happened in the weekend’s game from your medical staff and who is likely to be available for the weekend. I’ve started dreading those meetings now.

“It affects the quality we can train at. We’re looking to create a style of play, and if the opposition in training aren’t of the quality we’re going to get on Saturday, it gives you a false sense of confidence. We don’t get tested enough. The ball isn’t in play enough when we do our defensive systems.

“I plan now that for any given match I’m going to be missing about 30% of my players. Most coaches are facing that sort of level of injury.”