Wednesday 22 November 2017

Wales medics in the spotlight over North treatment

George North of Wales is tackled by Jonathan Joseph and Anthony Watson of England during the RBS Six Nations match between Wales and England at the Millennium Stadium
George North of Wales is tackled by Jonathan Joseph and Anthony Watson of England during the RBS Six Nations match between Wales and England at the Millennium Stadium

Chris Hewitt

High-level discussions over the treatment of the Wales wing George North will continue this week as World Rugby seeks assurances the correct concussion protocols were followed during the Six Nations game with England.

The Rugby Players' Association is also understood to be keeping a watch on any developments.

The British and Irish Lions Test back suffered two heavy, accidental blows to the head.

After the first incident, North spent eight minutes off the field undergoing a range of checks. Having passed that examination, he later collided with countryman Richard Hibbard and fell to the floor in a way that suggested he had been knocked out. On this occasion, he carried on.

Wales officials said staff were unaware of the second incident, adding that North was checked after the game and declared symptom-free.

The Red Dragon hierarchy has, however, decided to subject the player to the full range tests ahead of the coming game with Scotland.

Concussion is one of the most sensitive issues facing the sport, and there will be much interest in the findings of the Rugby Football Union's injury audit, which are due to be made public this week.

Enhanced protocols, including more time for safety checks, have been introduced following a series of incidents in major games.

There was criticism over the Wallabies' treatment of flanker George Smith during the final Test of the 2013 series with the Lions in Sydney, and more uproar last May when the French centre Florian Fritz returned to the field in obvious distress after an accidental collision.

Meanwhile, Wales tight-head prop Samson Lee, diagnosed with concussion after the England game, will have to prove his fitness ahead of the trip to Edinburgh. So will outside-half Dan Biggar, who clashed heads with teammate Gethin Jenkins in Friday's game.

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