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Referee criticised for handling of Jack Nowell HIA decision

By Ian Cameron
Jack Nowell /Getty

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Referee Damon Murphy was criticised online after allegedly rushing medics to come to a decision on whether or not Jack Nowell needed a HIA early in the first half.

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Concussion remains a hot button topic in the sport and a conversation between the referee and the England medic was picked by eagled-eyed viewers.

Nowell was involved in much of England’s best work but was taken off with an injury sustained while tackling. It took several minutes before a medic could intervene before Nowell was replaced by Elliot Daly.

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He subsequently failed his HIA and didn’t return.

However, the Australian official was accused of rushing a decision on whether not a Nowell needed a HIA, which was adjudicated by an independent doctor at the Stadio Olimpico in Rome.

Concussion activist Twitter account Progressive Rugby wrote: “Oh my goodness. Please tell me the ref has not just rushed a team into making a decision around a HIA?”

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“As ever, there’ll be plenty of talk across the weekend of poor officiating in many different sports. Nothing will be anywhere near as bad as Damon Murphy rushing the HIA that Jack Nowell ultimately fails. Irresponsible, idiotic, wrong,” wrote journalist John Collins.

“Pathetic from the referee rushing the England medic to make a decision about Nowell’s HIA. It was being looked at by the independent doctors for them to decide. All the chat about protecting players and the referee is trying to make it about him,” wrote one account.

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“So Jack Nowell has failed a head injury assessment after Damon Murphy initially allowed the HIA to be delayed? Serious questions need to be asked as to why the official initially allowed him to carry on,” wrote another.

England are aiming to revive a Guinness Six Nations marred by their opening-day setback against Scotland when they face Italy at the Stadio Olimpico.

Eddie Jones has picked a side showing six changes in personnel and two positional switches with Harry Randall’s selection ahead of Ben Youngs at scrum-half designed to bring tempo to the attack.

Italy have lost their previous 33 Six Nations matches in a run dating back to 2015 and are heavy underdogs to register a first win in the rivalry.

additional reporting PA

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