Sitting in World Rugby headquarters in Dublin's city centre, CEO Brett Gosper is surprisingly relaxed.

It's set to be a busy year for his sport, with a World Cup coming up and also the spotlight shining on concussion and the physicality of the game after the tragic deaths of four young players in France.

The question on many people's minds is this: is the game is safe enough?

"Our view is that the game has never been safer than it is now," Gosper tells RTE Sport.

"We were devastated as were the families, the clubs and the union involved. That is a spike that is incredibly unusual and each event in itself what we would be examining is specific to that particular case.

"There doesn't seem to be a pattern where you change a particular law or issue, there wasn't anything illegal or foul play in those instances.

"What it does is makes sure that you focus again and keep your focus and obsession on furthering player welfare and that is our role at World Rugby with our member unions. 

"We already planned a game shape in March with the Unions, key experts medical, games statisticians, coaches, players and so on just to do some exploration around whether there are some areas in the game we can improve further. "

There's a fear factor in some quarters about the game especially when players die playing. And although rugby is well watched sport, there are plenty of parents who would not allow their child play rugby.

"That is a normal thing, these are very mediatised events in many ways they should be but you have to put these things into perspective. 

"There are many sports out there where there are casualties and catastrophic injury, horse riding, skateboarding, even playground playing but rugby yes you will take some knocks here and there but overall the benefits in playing the game of rugby, the social benefits, the character building attributes of the sport far outweigh the risks and dangers of the physical aspects.

"Up to the age of 12 or 13 it's about equal in terms of risk, with non contact sports and then beyond that as the kids get older there is more risk involved but as I said it's never been safer because of the laws and the protocols and certainly the benefits outweigh the risks."

Recently former Ireland player Brian O'Driscoll opened up about his use of painkillers during his career. He revealed that he took medication as part of his pre-match routine to give himself a chance of playing his best game.

"These are the temptation in the environment of professional sport. The professional player is desperate to be on the pitch. His coaching staff are desperate to get him on the pitch. I think concussion has led that charge. 

"We have to put the player first and even the culture, within changing rooms, it's that long ago since Brian was playing, but I think there has been a strong step up driven by everything we are doing around concussion, really the protection of the player.

"I think and hope and believe is paramount now in those changing rooms. But you will always get that tension, we need that player, he wants to be on, what will we do to get him on and so the right choices have to be made."

When it comes to playing rugby Gosper has no shortage of experience.

Growing up in Australia he played for Melbourne, he represented his country at underage level and also played against New Zealand for three different representative teams.

At 22 he moved to France and joined Racing in Paris. It was the time when the 'Showbiz Generation' captured the imagination of the rugby world with their accessories like pink bow ties and their characters.

"It was an incredible period, it started around 1986/87 we ended up in the final. Each week we felt we were punching above our weight and that it would be our last time on television in a live broadcast, we thought if we are going to go out we would go out remembered so 

"We came out and we rode bikes around, we painted ourselves different colors, we wore berets, we did different things and we kept winning. We had massive TV audiences at the eight or nine million, we broke records because we drew this extra interest outside the game of rugby."

Gosper won the French Championship in 1990 before retiring to concentrate on his career in advertising where he had a successful career.

"Women are a huge source, they major source of growth in participation"

Six years ago he moved into his current role as CEO of World Rugby. During that time women's game has grown and there are more females at board level too.

"It was a conscious decision that if you wanted to bring a person for that extra voting weight that they had then it has to be a woman and that has taken our decision making council to 36 percent women from zero. It's a massive change. 

"Women are a huge source, they major source of growth in participation, they have always been a high proportion in terms of our audience and fan base, they have always been punching up around the high 40 percents. 

"We have a good audience. Last year there were more registered female players than there were men in the sport of rugby for the first time. Of the 9.1 million participants 25 per cent growing to 30 are women. So women are having a huge impact on this sport."

Later this year the Rugby World Cup will take place in Japan, the first time the tournament will be held outside a non traditional rugby area. 

"What a fabulous context to see the sport of rugby in a place like Japan. It will open eyes in Asia and around the world. People who go there will get a fantastic welcome. The Japanese are the most hospital people and are very excited. They love to show the world their culture. It will be fantastic."