BACKGROUND Injuries to the cervical spine (C-spine) are among the most serious in rugby and are well documented. Front-row players are particularly at risk due to repetitive high-intensity collisions in the scrum. AIM This study evaluates degenerative changes of the C-spine and associated symptomatology in front-row rugby players. MATERIALS AND METHODS C-spine radiographs from 14 professional rugby players and controls were compared. Players averaged 23 years of playing competitive rugby. Two consultant radiologists performed a blind review of radiographs evaluating degeneration of disc spaces and apophyseal joints. Clinical status was assessed using a modified AAOS/NASS/COSS cervical spine outcomes questionnaire. RESULTS Front-row rugby players exhibited significant radiographic evidence of C-spine degenerative changes compared to the non-rugby playing controls (P < 0.005). Despite these findings the rugby players did not exhibit increased symptoms. CONCLUSION This highlights the radiologic degenerative changes of the C-spine of front-row rugby players. However, these changes do not manifest themselves clinically or affect activities of daily living.