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Friday 27 January 2023 Dublin: 3°C
James Crombie/INPHO Dylan Tierney-Martin after the game.
# player safety
Friend says he is satisfied protocols were followed after rugby's latest head-on-head challenge
Connacht hooker Dylan Tierney-Martin was not required to leave the field after being on the receiving end of a massive head-on-head challenge in Saturday’s win.

CONNACHT DIRECTOR OF RUGBY Andy Friend said he is content all procedures were followed correctly when replacement hooker Dylan Tierney-Martin was not required to leave the field after being on the receiving end of a massive head-on-head challenge during their 38-19 bonus point win over Benetton at the Sportsground on Saturday.

The 23-year old was assessed on the field and allowed to continue to play, going on to score their fifth try in an impressive and badly needed URC win.

But it is the latest incident in the ongoing discussion about concussion and player safety, with the perpetrator of the challenge, former New Zealand U-20 lock Scott Scrafton, already on his way to be assessed when referee Marius van der Westhuizen dished out a red card to him.

Friend said he is satisfied Tierney-Martin was assessed properly on the pitch and that the medical team would always err on the side of caution in such cases.

“That was assessed,” said Friend. “We hear the comms (communications) on all of that. He was assessed by the matchday doctor and it wasn’t deemed sufficient enough for him to come off.

marius-van-der-westhuizen-issues-a-red-card James Crombie / INPHO Scott Scrafton gets a red card. James Crombie / INPHO / INPHO

“From my visual there was no staggering of him or stumbling or any other visual signs. When that’s all checked he is also getting checked out too. They make their calls as professionals and we have to back them.

“If we saw something as a group of coaches we could definitely do something about that but I can promise you our medical staff would be the most diligent on that, out of all of them.

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“There are constantly messages coming through, ‘check that tackle, check that …,’ so they have a hawkeye they are always checking and I know in the past if there is any doubt that player comes off. I’m comfortable with that.”

The dismissal after 66 minutes, the second suffered by Benetton in a week, didn’t have a huge bearing on the outcome of a match where Connacht were on top for long periods, but they wrapped up the bonus point within minutes of the red card to claim their fourth win of the campaign.

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