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Wales scrumhalf Tomos Williams removed after 'sickening' head injury

By Ian Cameron
Tomos Williams of Wales struggles with a head injury (Photo by Dan Mullan/Getty Images)

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Wales scrumhalf Tomos Williams lasted just 10 minutes against France after he suffered a clear concussive blow when defending a French attack.

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Williams could clearly be seen struggling to stand after taking a heavy blow tackling 110kg French centre Jonathan Danty.

Williams stumbled back into the defensive line but was barely able to remain standing. The incident happened behind referee Matthew Carley, wouldn’t didn’t stop play.

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The attack ended roughly 30 seconds later when France’s Antony Jelonch rumbled over the try line, at which point Williams was removed from play by a member of the Welsh medical staff.

The incident wasn’t missed on Twitter. Journalist Neil Treacy wrote: “No surprise to see Tomos Williams head injury was a result of putting his head across the tackle, trying to tackle with his inside shoulder when the carrier is on the outside. Those tackles are as much of a threat to the game as head-high collisions, if not more. ”

“That’s Tomos Williams off – he absolutely cannot be allowed to continue. Sickening head injury,” wrote the Mirror’s deputy editor, Tomos Davidson.

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The Rugby Paper’s Neil Fissler’s Tweeted: “Tomos Williams will be back in ten minutes given Wales record with HIAs.”

“I can’t believe play wasn’t stopped for Tomos Williams like the man physically couldn’t bring himself to his feet he was so concussed,” wrote one fan.

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The incident comes just two weeks after tighthead prop Tomas Francis returned to the field against England despite clearly having suffered a brain injury while defending Wales’ line.

The handling of an incident involving Francis was criticised as a “clear and flagrant breach” of head injury assessment protocol.

Progressive Rugby, a lobby group on player protection, wrote an open letter to World Rugby, which stated:

Francis displayed clear symptoms/indications under the World Rugby Head Injury Assessment protocol that necessitate the immediate and permanent removal from play. No HIA was needed. While, after a delay, Francis was removed from the field he was, incorrectly, allowed to undergo an HIA assessment and returned to the field, playing until the 56th minute, at which time he was permanently replaced by Leon Brown. Progressive Rugby is concerned that the events demonstrate that individuals who have incurred brain injury have continued to be permitted to play which will place them at likelihood of risk.”

Wayne Pivac and Wales were then heavily critcised for clearing Francis to play France.

After losing to England at Twickenham, Wales face the task of stopping France closing in on a first Six Nations Grand Slam since 2010.

Head coach Wayne Pivac made four changes with centre Jonathan Davies recalled to win his 95th Wales cap, Gareth Thomas coming in at loose-head prop, and Seb Davies and Josh Navidi brought into the back row.

France captain Antoine Dupont was declared fit for the Cardiff clash after injuring his arm in training. Winger Gabin Villiere was the only change to the side victorious in Scotland last month with Damian Penaud having tested positive for Covid-19.

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