The relationships between rugby union, and health and well-being: A scoping review

Steffan A. Griffin, Nirmala Kanthi Panagodage Perera, Andrew Murray, Catherine Hartley, Samantha G. Fawkner, Simon P T Kemp, Keith A. Stokes, Paul Kelly

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

11 Citations (SciVal)


Objective To scope the relationships between rugby union, and health and well-being. Design Scoping review. Data sources Published and unpublished reports of any age, identified by searching electronic databases, platforms and reference lists. Methods A three-step search strategy identified relevant published primary, secondary studies and grey literature, which were screened using a priori inclusion criteria. Data were extracted using a standardised tool, to form (1) a numerical analysis and (2) a thematic summary. Results and discussion 6658 records were identified, and 198 studies met the inclusion criteria. All forms of rugby union can provide health-enhancing physical activity (PA). € Non-contact' and wheelchair rugby in particular provide a wide range of physical and mental health and well-being benefits. The evidence is either mixed or unclear in relation to € contact' rugby union and its effects on a range of physical health domains. Injury and concussion incidence rates are high for contact rugby union relative to other sports. Conclusions A wide range of stakeholders as well as existing and potential participants can use this information to make a more informed decision about participating in and promoting rugby union as a health-enhancing activity. Industry and policy-makers can use this review to inform policies and strategies that look to increase participation rates and use rugby union as a vehicle to contribute positively to population health. Further research understanding rugby union's contribution to PA as well as to muscle-strengthening and balance is indicated, as well as research examining more health and well-being outcomes across more diverse cohorts.

Original languageEnglish
Article number102085
Pages (from-to)319-326
Number of pages8
JournalBritish Journal of Sports Medicine
Issue number6
Early online date28 Oct 2020
Publication statusPublished - 31 Mar 2021


  • health promotion
  • injuries
  • physical activity
  • rugby
  • well-being

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Orthopedics and Sports Medicine
  • Physical Therapy, Sports Therapy and Rehabilitation


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