Rugby is a game filled with massive collisions and centred around physicality, making injuries part and parcel of the sport.
Being sidelined with injury can take a huge mental toll on a player but none more so than those which keep players out of the Rugby World Cup.
Planet Rugby takes a closer look at which players will miss the global showpiece due to injury.
Mixed injury news for the All Blacks during the course of the World Cup as veteran Brodie Retallick has made a full recovery from his injury whilst Shannon Frizell has not returned yet from a hamstring “tweak”. Tyrel Lomax received a nasty gash on his leg against the Springboks in a warm-up match and has yet to return.
The biggest news coming from the camp is the tournament-ending back injury to Emoni Narawa. The wing has been replaced by the tireless loose forward Ethan Blackadder, who has recently recovered from a fitness concern himself.
Doubt: Frizell (hamstring), Lomax (leg)
Ruled out: Narawa (back)
The hosts’ preparations were rocked by the news of Romain Ntamack’s ACL injury, ruling their star fly-half out. However, of late the hosts have received a double injury boost with prop Cyril Baille and centre Jonathan Danty making their return against Namibia on September 21 in their Pool A clash.
💔 Heartbreak for Romain Ntamack.
— Planet Rugby (@PlanetRugby) August 14, 2023
The Azzurri suffered a big blow as young star Tomasso Menoncello was ruled out of the tournament with a bicep injury suffered earlier this month. The star joins Edoardo Padovani, Leandro Marin and Gianmarco Lucchesi on the sidelines.
The South American side were sweating on the fitness of star scrum-half Santiago Arata, who fractured his finger in the build-up to the tournament, but he features against the hosts in his team’s opener.
Centre Le Roux Malan suffered a nasty injured against the All Blacks as he both fractured and dislocated his ankle in an attempted tackle.
Ruled out: Malan (ankle)
The top-ranked side received a positive update on injuries with Dan Sheehan, Dave Kilcoyne and Robbie Henshaw all cleared to return to action. The team is still waiting on the complete recovery of Jack Conan, who has been out for an extended period with a foot injury and is unlikely to return against South Africa.
Doubt: Conan (foot)
The defending champions were rocked by the news that three of their 2019 World Cup winners are out with injuries as Handre Pollard, Lukhanyo Am and Lood de Jager all missed out on the 33-man squad.
The side suffered a massive blow with star man Malcolm Marx’s being ruled out of the tournament with a “long-term” knee injury sustained in training. The Springboks have taken a risky approach by selection Pollard as the hooker’s replacement with Deon Fourie and Marco van Staden the back-ups to Bongi Mbonambi.
Front-row Vincent Koch withdrew late from their clash against Romania with a knee issue and has reportedly been sitting out training so far this week.
Meanwhile, second-row Eben Etzebeth has recovered from his shoulder injury in time for the crunch Test against Ireland.
Doubt: Koch (knee)
Ruled out: Marx (knee)
🗣️ "It’s tragic that his campaign has ended this way." #RWC2023
🇿🇦 Absolutely gutting for Malcolm Marx. We wish him all the best in his recovery. https://t.co/tcqR6ccN4T
— Planet Rugby (@PlanetRugby) September 14, 2023
Gregor Townsend’s side has a mostly clean bill of health with the exception of Dave Cherry, who suffered a concussion after a hotel accident. He has been replaced in the squad by Stuart McInally, who had retired after missing out on the initial selection.
❌ The hooker slipped down stairs at the team hotel on Monday.
— Planet Rugby (@PlanetRugby) September 14, 2023
Ruled out: Cherry (concussion)
Prop Feao Fotuaika and fly-half Otumaka Mausia have been ruled out of the tournament following injuries in training. The duo have been replaced by Siate Tokolahi and Patrick Pellegrini.
Ruled out: Fotuaika, Mausia
The European side has no notable injuries.
Warren Gatland’s preparations were disrupted by Ken Owens being ruled out of the tournament with a back injury. Flank Tommy Reffell was forced to withdraw from their clash against Portugal after suffering an undisclosed injury during the warm-up. No further comments have been made on the injury.
Len Ikitau was settling into the outside centre berth well until he suffered a shoulder injury in the Rugby Championship, ruling him out, whilst veteran prop and leader Allan Alaalatoa ruptured his Achilles in a scrum.
The Wallabies have their first major concern during the tournament as Taniela Tupou did not train due a hamstring complaint, this was soon followed by skipper Will Skelton withdrawing from the Fiji clash, who will also be unavailable for the Wales game after being seen in a moon boot. Adding to their woes is their young starlet Max Jorgensen being ruled out of the tournament with a fractured leg.
Doubt: Tupou (hamstring), Skelton (foot/leg)
Ruled out: Jorgensen (leg)
Star pivot Caleb Muntz was ruled out of the tournament with a knee injury sustained in training in the build-up to the tournament. It is unfortunate timing for the player who starred in the side’s win over England in a warm-up match.
There are some concerns around Josua Tuisova who was recovering from an ankle injury coming into the tournament and left the field limping late on in their historic win over Australia. Head coach Simon Raiwalui believes it is just a consequence of playing soon after an injury and suggested the superstar should recover.
Doubt: Tuisova (ankle)
Ruled out: Muntz (knee)
The emerging side has a clean bill of health and has recently confirmed its World Cup squad.
There are no injuries, in particular, to note for the European side.
The Red Rose lost their scrum-half Jack van Poortvliet to a nasty ankle injury last weekend. Joining him on the sidelines is wing Anthony Watson who was ruled out with a calf injury.
Ruled out: Van Poortvliet (ankle), Watson (calf)
Outside-back Semisi Masirewa has been ruled out of the tournament with what appeared to be a leg injury. He has been replaced by Ryohei Yamanaka.
Ruled out: Masirewa
Front-row Ignacio Calles, who was only just beginning his Test career, suffered a ruptured Achilles in July, ruling him out of the showpiece.
Manu Samoa has a clean bill of health heading into the tournament.
The South Americans do not have any injuries to note at this stage.