World Rugby says it is ‘reviewing the circumstances’ of the controversial events in Dublin on Saturday when Australian Nic White was allowed to return to the pitch despite clear signs he had suffered a brain injury in the second half of his 13-10 loss to Ireland.
White has since been suspended for 12 days and will miss the final match of the Wallabies tour against Wales. But despite being visibly unsteady on his feet after a tackle on Mack Hansen and an accidental collision with Josh van der Flier’s boot, the scrum-half was not permanently removed from the scrum as it should have been. the case.
Instead, the former Exeter player was cleared to return after passing a head injury assessment, prompting an angry reaction from the Progressive Rugby concussion lobby group. It has since been claimed that the independent match-day doctor and the Australian medical team missed the crucial footage of a dazed and stumbling White because they were busy reviewing the initial tackle.
Although White subsequently showed no symptoms of concussion, it is clear echoes of the incident involving Tomas Francis during England’s game against Wales at Twickenham this year. A subsequent investigation revealed the Wales prop should have been ‘immediately and permanently removed from play’ and a number of recommendations were put forward to avoid similar mistakes in the future.
White’s absence from the Wales game compounds the growing availability problems for the Wallabies. Dave Porecki, Taniela Tupou, Hunter Paisami, Rob Valetini and Andrew Kellaway are all injured, while Bernard Foley and Will Skelton must return to their respective Japanese and French clubs as the game falls outside the international window.
Tupou appears to be the longest absentee, with the prop having suffered a serious achilles injury which could put him in doubt at next year’s Rugby World Cup in France.
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