World Rugby 'disappointed' with handling of George North head injury but no sanction for Northampton

World Rugby says the club failed to manage the injury properly.

World Rugby has decided not to punish Northampton.
World Rugby has decided not to punish Northampton.
Image: David Davies/PA Wire/PA Images

DESPITE WORLD RUGBY announcing today that they are “disappointed” with Northampton’s failure to identify and treat George North’s latest head injury “appropriately”, the club will face no sanctions.

The Wales star lay motionless on the ground following a mid-air tackle against Leicester on 3 December but was allowed to play on.

North missed five months of action two years ago after suffering four blows to the head between November 2014 and March 2015.

A concussion review committee last month decided the 24-year-old should not have been allowed continue but did not sanction the Premiership side.

Following that conclusion, World Rugby requested more information about the incident and held talks — described as “highly constructive” — with both the English RFU and English Premiership bosses.

In a statement today, the sport’s governing body said that head injury protocol had “not been fully adhered to” but accepted that this was because the Northampton medical staff were treating the winger for a potential spinal injury.

The decision to allow him to return to the field of play was because of the “non-application” of those protocols and World Rugby is “satisfied” the team are now “educated” on the permanent removal process.

The statement adds:

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“While it is impossible to completely remove the risk of error, World Rugby remains disappointed that there was a failure in this case to identify and manage the injury appropriately, in particular considering North’s medical history.”

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Steve O'Rourke

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