Elite level Rugby Union turned professional in 1995. The move to full time training has meant that the game has become more physically demanding as the players' fitness level has improved.
The changing physical demands have seen a change in the nature of injuries. Increased emphasis on fitness training and a faster match tempo has lead to a rise in the number of muscle and tendon injuries.
Because of the frequent physical contact, the incidence of collision injury is relatively high with the upper limbs and head most frequently injured.
Recent research described the incidence of injury in Rugby Union as 17 injuries per 1000 hours of playing, with match injuries much more frequent than training injuries.
During matches, most injuries occurred whilst being tackled, whereas most training injuries occurred during endurance running and contact activities.