They say injuries from this “high-collision sport” can have lifelong consequences for children. 

Professor Allyson Pollock from Queen Mary University of London said: “Parents expect the state to look after their children when they are at school. 

“Rugby is a high-impact collision sport and given that children are more susceptible to injuries such as concussion, the absence of injury surveillance systems and primary prevention strategies is worrying.

“Children are being left exposed to serious and catastrophic risk of injury.

“As a signatory to the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, the UK and Irish governments should ensure the safety of rugby, by removing the contact from the children’s game in schools.”

Supporters argue that rugby builds character and the positives outweigh the negatives. The Rugby Football Union said it took player safety “extremely seriously” and it was currently undertaking a large-scale injury surveillance and prevention project in schools. 

A spokeswoman added: “We believe that rugby is a fantastic sport for children with many physical and social benefits, which can include an increase in confidence, self-esteem and self-discipline, as well as getting enjoyable physical exercise while working as part of a team.

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