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Lions clarify Biggar situation after criticism over concussion

By Liam Heagney

Trending on RugbyPass

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Lions assistant coach Robin McBryde has moved to dilute the criticism of confusing comments made on Thursday by skipper Alun Wyn Jones about Dan Biggar and his progress through the return to play protocols following his concussion in last Saturday’s first Test win over the Springboks.

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Asked how likely it was that Biggar would start this Saturday’s second Test after he was included in Warren Gatland’s Lions team at out-half, Jones said: “I wasn’t aware he was carrying anything. As I can see he has trained fully and I am not a part of the medical team so I can’t give you any committed answer on that.”

Has he been able to train much this week? “As I already said, yes.” 

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Rassie Erasmus’ spectacular 26-clip, hour-long criticism of the first Test officials

This clipped answer from Jones was soon criticised by Progressive Rugby, the concussion awareness group who were previously on the Lions’ case earlier this month when Luke Cowan-Dickie was chosen on the bench in Johannesburg just a week after he was knocked out playing for Exeter in the Gallagher Premiership final.

Commenting on Twitter, Progressive Rugby wrote: “Deflating to hear Lions captain Alun Wyn Jones wasn’t ‘aware he [Dan Biggar] was carrying anything’ and believes he has trained fully this week. Wow. Just wow. Never mind Biggar’s distressing concussion history. Look. After. The. Players. Please.”

Given this negative reaction it was inevitable that the Biggar situation would be a talking point when McBryde fronted a breakfast time media briefing on Friday in Cape Town. “I am not going to deviate from this letter that I have got here to read out in preparation for a question of manner. Hopefully there is enough there for you to be satisfied with.”

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The statement read by McBryde was: “Dan Biggar will complete his graduated return to play with his final contact session ahead of the match on Saturday. He has been symptom free since his post-match head injury assessment and has remained symptom free throughout the process. He has been monitored daily by two consultant sport physicians and has also been reviewed by an independent concussion consultant. 

“This process has been successfully utilised to allow for independent verification of the medial management undertaken in all concussion cases during the tour in South Africa to date. 

“All players will have an individualised and highly integrated approach to the management with a multitude of factors being taken into consideration. Our players’ health remains the absolute priority and we continue to deliver the highest level of care independent of any match regardless of its importance.”  

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Lions clarify Biggar situation after criticism over concussion

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