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'I am absolutely disgusted... A stain on our great game' - Bracken lashes Lions

By Ian Cameron
Luke Cowan-Dickie after the Exeter's loss to Saracens

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Former England scrum-half Kyran Bracken has hit out at the British & Irish Lions over the selection of Exeter Chiefs hooker Luke Cowan-Dickie on the bench for Saturday’s game against the Sigma Lions.


Cowan-Dickie’s selection comes despite his being knocked unconscious just seven days prior in the Gallagher Premiership final defeat to Harlequins. The hooker got his head the wrong side of a tackle and received medical treatment on the pitch before being removed from the action at Twickenham.

The 28-year-old has since progressed through the return to play protocols, but his return so soon after a significant head injury hasn’t gone unnoticed by concussion activists.

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When questioned about Cowan-Dickie’s inclusion Lions head coach Warren Gatland noted: “When I first asked him how he was he said he had never had a knock like that before, so he has done all the return to play protocols and he is happy to take a part in training and he is another real competitor.”

However, in an extraordinary tweet on Twitter, Bracken described the selection as a ‘stain on the game’.

Bracken, who is spearheading an anti-brain injury campaign in the sport, has spoken out about his own struggles with post-concussion symptoms in retirement. Earlier this year the former England international testified before a  digital, culture, media and sport select committee and is he part of Progressive Rugby, a group campaigning to make the game safer.

A clearly irate Bracken took to Twitter to vent after the selection of the England front rower, who was unconscious for between 20 and 60 seconds.


“Luke is unconscious for over 20 seconds. Possibly 40-60 secs. How can he play the following week? I am absolutely disgusted that the powers that be allow this to happen. A stain on our great game,” tweeted Bracken.

Progressive Rugby tweeted: “How on earth is Luke Cowan-Dickie on the Lions team sheet just 5 days after this?

“Cowan-Dickie will have to undergo stringent return to play protocols and will not be able to progress to full training until he passes series of tests.”



The popular Rugby and the Law account tweeted: “Luke Cowan-Dickie on the bench this weekend for the Lions, after suffering a serious knock-out last weekend. According to the protocols, this is fine. Do the protocols go far enough? Plenty would say they don’t.”

The issue of head injury is one that World Rugby seem to be in the constant throws of dealing with. Just this morning the governing body issued a new protocol that will see players red-carded for dangerous tackles sent back to tackling school.

The new law comes in practice for the July Tests and could see players shave one week off their ban if they complete a technical course on how to tackle safely.


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