Sunday 25 February 2018

Fall-out from North incident will ultimately make game safer - Roberts

Wales centre Jamie Roberts says 'all the players trust the medical staff'. Photo: Stu Forster/Getty Images
Wales centre Jamie Roberts says 'all the players trust the medical staff'. Photo: Stu Forster/Getty Images

Wales star Jamie Roberts, a qualified doctor, believes the fall-out from the George North concussion controversy will contribute towards making rugby a safer sport.

The game's governing body World Rugby has said North should not have remained on the field after a clash of heads with team-mate Richard Hibbard during last Friday's loss to England.

But World Rugby added that it accepts the Welsh Rugby Union's (WRU) explanation surrounding the incident.

North appeared to suffer a momentary loss of consciousness after the 61st-minute collision with Hibbard.

WRU national medical manager Prav Mathema subsequently admitted that had the second incident been seen by medics, then North would have been immediately taken off and replaced.

North left the field in the first half after receiving an accidental boot to the head from England's Dave Attwood, but he was able to continue after treatment.

World Rugby, meanwhile, has also announced that it will be "immediately investigating, evaluating and promoting the implementation" of new measures.

These are the practicality of television match official technology being expanded to identify head injuries as they happen on the field, and all elite competitions being requested to provide pitchside video for medical staff.

"It's unfortunate, that second incident," said Roberts. "I think all the protocols have been followed by the Union medical staff. It was unfortunate they didn't see it happen, the second one.

"All the players trust the medical staff. It was an unfortunate incident - a lot has been made of it, and rightly so.

"Concussion is a huge part of the game at the moment, and hopefully moving forward, the protocols that we put in place are going to make the game safer for the players involved. Safety of the players is paramount."

England, meanwhile, look set to name an unchanged squad for Saturday's game with Italy after Geoff Parling was ruled out of contention with a knee problem.

Head coach Stuart Lancaster had hinted that if Parling was able to prove his fitness, he would have been included among the replacements at the expense of Nick Easter or Tom Croft. However, the Leicester lock suffered a setback in his recovery from a knee ligament strain during training on Monday.

Irish Independent

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