6 Oct 2011

High injury toll reality of professional era

9:58 pm on 6 October 2011

Rugby officials say the high injury toll on World Cup players can be put down to the immense physicality of the game in the professional era, the long season and excessive training.

Several star players are now unable to play the rest of the tournament including the All Blacks' game-maker Dan Carter, and Springbok greats Bakkies Botha and Frans Steyn.

All Blacks assistant coach Steve Hansen says establishing a global season would give players more rest, meaning less injuries.

A former All Blacks coach, John Hart, says the training workload needs also to be reduced to stop players already at peak fitness being injured in preparation for a big game.

But a former All Blacks team doctor, John Mayhew, says squads of 30 are picked to factor in tournament-ending injuries.

Commentator Keith Quinn says today's World Cup players are bigger, faster and stronger than those in the first tournament in 1987, meaning collision injuries tend to be more severe.