Thursday 22 February 2018

WATCH - Sale probed over concussion management protocol after TJ Ioane was allowed to play on after this incident

Sale back row TJ Ioane appeared to be concussed against Harlequins yet stayed on the pitch
Sale back row TJ Ioane appeared to be concussed against Harlequins yet stayed on the pitch

Sale are being investigated over a possible breach of concussion management protocol, the Rugby Football Union has announced.

A panel will meet to examine a 30th-minute incident in the Sharks' 29-26 Aviva Premiership defeat at Harlequins last Saturday in which back row TJ Ioane appeared to be concussed but remained on the pitch and completed the match.

Watch the incident above.

The investigation comes less than a month after Northampton were the subject of a probe into the handling of George North's latest blow to the head.

Ioane took a blow to the head while tackling Harlequins hooker Dave Ward at Twickenham Stoop, but groggily returned to his feet and resumed play without receiving any medical treatment.

The incident was not picked up by the member of the Sharks' medical team appointed to look for instances of concussion during the match, with the assistance of TV replays.

"A concussion management review group panel will convene to examine an incident in the 30th minute of the match between Harlequins and Sale on 7 January, involving Sale player TJ Ioane," an RFU statement read.

"The RFU and Premiership Rugby have appointed Dr Julian Morris to be the independent chairman and will be joined by the RFU's director of professional rugby Nigel Melville and Phil Winstanley, the rugby director at Premiership Rugby.

"A joint RFU/Premiership Rugby update will be provided in seven days and until that time no further comment will be made."

After the tackle by Ward, Ioane had three more involvements in the game before the whistle was blown to award Harlequins a penalty for offside.

It was at this point that the visiting number eight James Chisholm approached his opposite number to ask if he was okay, resulting in a nod from Ioane.

Co-player concern has been outlined by the game's authorities as a potential indicator of concussion in the wake of last month's probe into the North incident.

On December 21 a joint RFU and Premiership concussion review group opted against charging Saints or their medical staff with misconduct for allowing the Wales wing to resume playing despite appearing to have been knocked unconscious in a league match against Leicester on December 3.

The decision not to issue any sanction but to outline nine recommendations on concussion management was widely condemned.

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