Jones' methods risking players: RFU report

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       Nigel Melville says it is inevitable rugby will change after a report revealed a rise in injury severity

"Players get injured for club and country".

That's according to the England union's annual injury audit.

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 cut down the number of concussions but that there was still a concern that high tackles were not being policed firmly enough by officials.

The RFU injury report follows a year in which several players were sent back to their clubs unable to play after serious injuries sustained on England duty, leading to criticism of coach Eddie Jones' methods.

"We obviously discussed the situation a few months ago and what we did as a result of that was look at the transition of players from their club environments into the global environment", RFU acting chief executive Nigel Melville said. "We are looking at how to manage the transition of players from club to global rugby because it requires players to train at a greater intensity". Nathan Soyeux, a 23-year-old student, passed away in Dijon on Monday after suffering injuries in a game in November.

Injuries to England and professional club players have been kept since 2002, and it shows that injury severity has risen steeply overall.

Lowering the height of the tackle and taking action against players who make contact with the head is now a major focus for the sport but any effect of changes to this area of the game will only be seen in next year's report. "The PRISP data suggests that more significant changes to the game might be needed to reverse these trends".

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The severity of injury sustained has contributed to the increase and this, combined with the small number of England training sessions, has prompted the RFU to advise interpreting the figures "with caution".

More investigation into the impact artificial grass pitches are having on the sport in England is planned with the report revealing that while there was no significant difference compared to natural grass: "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)".

Like the total number of overall injuries, concussion saw a reduction in incidents from the previous season, but the average length of time players were absent for did increase.

Details on all injuries sustained by English professional players in club and global matches and training have been recorded and analysed since 2002 in the Professional Rugby Injury Surveillance Project (PRISP) and its report for 2017-18.

In 12 months it is hoped it will be possible to assess injury trends across the globe and the governing body will finally be able to tackle the injury crisis head on.

Compliance was shown to be well observed, with no player returning within the six-day period.

The RFU has previously pushed for changes to the tackle law in order to reduce concussions, which account for 18 percent of all injuries to the ball carrier and 37 percent of all injuries to the tackler.

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