Rugby Union Player Cleared of Recklessly Injuring Opponent

Those who take part in contact sports necessarily accept some risk of injury. The High Court made that point in finding that a rugby union player bore no legal responsibility for injuries suffered by an opponent with whom he collided.

The full-back on one team caught and kicked away the ball before a winger playing for the other side ran into him. The former suffered injuries which were initially life-threatening and had to undergo emergency surgery to have his spleen removed. The full-back argued that the winger had been reckless and sued him, and the club for which he had been playing, for up to £500,000 in compensation.

In rejecting the full-back's claim, however, the Court noted that the risk of injury in a fast-moving contact sport is sometimes unavoidable. Although the winger had been shown a yellow card by the referee and sent to the sin bin, he had done no more than slightly mis-time his reasonable attempt to charge down the kick in the midst of an intensely competitive local derby match.

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