Injury panel find Wales’ Francis should not have played against England | Wales rugby team


Welsh prop Tomas Francis should have been ‘immediately and permanently’ removed from the pitch in last month’s Six Nations game against England, a review panel have concluded.

Francis sustained a head injury midway through the first half of his country’s 23-19 defeat at Twickenham on February 26. Television footage showed the 29-year-old staggering near his own try line following a clash with team-mate Owen Watkin, when he appeared to demand the post pads stand up after standing back on his feet.

He was then taken off the field for assessment by an independent doctor on the day of the match and, having been deemed fit to continue, played until the 56th minute.

Although the Head Injury Review Committee ruled that the Ospreys player Francis should have been removed without evaluation, and when an error was made he should not have been allowed to return under the guidelines of World Rugby, no disciplinary action will be taken against those involved.

Six Nations Rugby said it would work with its unions and the governing body to mitigate the risk of similar incidents.

In a statement, it said: “The HIA (Head Injury Assessment) review panel concluded that in this case one or more indications of ‘Criteria 1’ were present which should have resulted in the immediate and permanent removal of Francis from the game.

“As part of the review process, the panel found that a number of factors appeared to have contributed to the failure to identify these indications which ultimately resulted in Francis not being removed from the playing field.

“The panel emphasized that they had time to review video footage and other materials at length, without any pressure on match day, and also had access to more camera angles and clips than the medical team had. game day.

“The HIA Review Panel has made no recommendations regarding disciplinary action against anyone involved in the incident in question, and Six Nations Rugby Limited will take no further disciplinary action.”

The majority of the recommendations included in the review findings are already part of the World Rugby guidelines. However, the panel suggested that “appropriate minimum standards for the size of screens and the number of screens available on the pitch for the review of video footage should be set by the organizer of the competition or tournament concerned”.

The Welsh Rugby Union (WRU) said the actions of its medical team were “entirely appropriate” while reaffirming its commitment to player welfare.

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“The Head Injury Assessment (HIA) is an extremely important protocol,” read a statement from the WRU. “We do not – and will not – compromise on the welfare of players. We take note of the findings of the Six Nations EIS review process and have cooperated fully with the review undertaken by the Six Nations Our medical staff are highly experienced and we fully support all of their actions during the England v Wales Guinness Six Nations match, which were entirely appropriate and in line with all relevant protocols.

“They were not sighted of the incident involving Tomas Francis in real time and, as agreed before the match, Francis was taken off the field of play to undertake his HIA with the independent match day doctor. We are committed to continue to work with the Six Nations, World Rugby and other unions on these issues.”


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