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World Rugby issue findings from Nic White incident probe

By PA
(Photo by Cameron Spencer/Getty Images)

World Rugby has concluded “discrepancies around process and communication” led to Australia’s Nic White wrongly being allowed to continue playing after suffering a head injury in his side’s 13-10 defeat to Ireland. Wallabies scrum-half White was visibly unsteady on his feet following a tackle on Mack Hansen and an accidental collision with Josh Van Der Flier’s boot in the second half of the Dublin Test on November 19.

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The former Exeter player passed a head injury assessment before completing the full 80 minutes at the Aviva Stadium but an independent review has ruled he should have been taken off. The investigation attributed the mistake to medics missing crucial footage of a dazed, stumbling White because they were busy reviewing the initial tackle.

Concussion campaign group Progressive Rugby and television spectators were among those angered by the events. White, 32, was subsequently stood down for 12 days, resulting in him being absent on Saturday for his country’s 39-34 win over Wales in Cardiff.

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World Rugby reaffirmed its commitment to the “highest possible standards of care for all players” as it detailed findings of the review. “The event involved two separate incidents,” read a statement from the governing body.

“Given the facts and footage available, it was defensible for the medical team to remove Nic White for an HIA after the first incident. The second incident resulted in criteria one signs according to the World Rugby HIA process, which should have resulted in White’s permanent removal from the field.

“Both the independent match day doctor and team doctor were in the process of reviewing video footage for the first incident when the second occurred. The second incident was not communicated to either doctor and therefore, in performing White’s HIA, (they) did not review any additional footage.

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“Having been made aware of the second incident after the game, both doctors reviewed the footage and declared a criteria one diagnosis. Discrepancies around process and communication, rather than interpretation of player signs, were therefore the key factors to affect this particular HIA process.”

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