Former Ireland international Reggie Corrigan fears for the longevity of players amidst what he sees is a remarkable emphasis on physicality in the sport.
Corrigan, winner of 47 caps for his country, as well as making 138 appearances for Leinster, was speaking in the latest episode of Different Class with Dave Kelly.
“I think the body has an amazing ability to recover and mend itself. With the body, most lads will be okay. I don't think there will be any chronic injuries that they will have. I know Paul Wallace's ankle is still very sore to this day and it still affects him. He had a pretty horrendous break.
“There would be players who had physical breaks and injuries that it probably hurts them now and again.
“But I think for the most part the body can recover itself very well. I suppose the main concern now is the head issue and the level of concussions that we are starting to see in the game. I think it is great that it has been recognised so much and there are so many protocols in place, and the protection that is there for the players from that.
“But you do also wonder, lads are getting so big now and so physically strong. Every single one of them is in that category and you just wonder where does it stop? Where does this level of physical strength and conditioning stop? How can they keep improving it? I do wonder that.
“It also makes me wonder then are the level of impacts just going to increase and are guys careers just going to be shortened because of that with the level of head impacts we are seeing?
“It is a worry, and a very difficult question to answer. Rugby bodies and the organisation [IRFU] are doing a huge amount of work for awareness and trying to put the onus back on the players to accept and acknowledge when they are hurt, and when they do get a head injury to come off the pitch and get the right treatment for that. I hope that continues but it is going to be a long process and by no means is it solved yet.”
Corrigan has also speaks about Leinster's defeat to Perpignan in the Heineken Cup semi-final in 2003 as he looks back on his career with host Dave Kelly in the third episode of the podcast series.
Both Leinster and Munster reached the semi-finals that year, with both sides suffering defeat ahead of a Lansdowne Road final.