Sunday 16 December 2018

Brian O'Driscoll leads calls for probe into HIA controversy during Ireland-France clash

Brian O'Driscoll (inset) was not happy that Antoine Dupont underwent a HIA when he clearly suffered a knee injury
Brian O'Driscoll (inset) was not happy that Antoine Dupont underwent a HIA when he clearly suffered a knee injury
Independent.ie Newsdesk

Independent.ie Newsdesk

Brian O'Driscoll doesn't want the HIA controversy that occurred in the final minutes of Ireland's pulsating 15-13 win over France at the Stade de France to be brushed under the carpet.

Several TV replays showed France substitute scrumhalf Antoine Dupont clearly suffer a knee injury, but a French official informed referee Nigel Owens that the official match doctor said the scrum-half was off for a Head Injury Assessment, meaning Maxime Machenaud could return to the field.

Referee Nigel Owens was clearly dubious and made sure to triple check the information but Machenaud was allowed to continue despite protestations from a number of Irish players.

The decision could have proved critical if Machenaud had kicked the 77th minute penalty that Anthony Belleau missed.

French head coach Jacques Brunel insisted that France had no control over both playmakers undergoing Head Injury Assessment (HIAs).

"They were collisions, but the head injury protocol was decided by the independent doctor; it wasn't our decision," said Brunel, of the HIAs for Jalibert and Dupont.

"Both players had knee injuries, but the independent doctor decided that by the protocol."

Ireland's record tryscorer has called for an investigation into what happened.

He tweeted: "Just because we won with an INCREDIBLE 42 METER drop goal that HIA decision shouldn’t get swept under the carpet. It was nothing short of a disgrace!!!"

A statement from the tournament organisers confirmed that they are looking into a number of HIA incidents. It read: "SNRL has in place a Head Injury Assessment Protocol that applies to the 2018 Championships, which has been approved by World Rugby.

"As part of that protocol, there is a process by which HIA/concussion-related incidents are reviewed. This involves an initial review by an independent HIA Review Processor, Alligin (UK) Limited, and then in certain cases a further review by an HIA Review Panel.

"The HIA Review Panel can as part of its review make recommendations (among other things) as to further education and training that is required, and/or whether disciplinary action should be taken by SNRL. This two-stage review process is required by World Rugby.

"The HIA Review Processor is reviewing a number of incidents from the France v Ireland match in the senior men’s championship.  Depending on their findings, SNRL will be considering the next steps in respect of those incidents."

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