Wales prop Francis should have been replaced after head injury: Six Nations panel

Welsh forward Francis was injured in the first half of Wales’ Six Nations defeat at Twickenham

Tomas Francis should have been replaced.
Tomas Francis should have been replaced.
Image: Laszlo Geczo/INPHO

WALES PROP TOMAS Francis should have been “immediately and permanently” removed from last month’s match against England after suffering a head injury, a Six Nations review panel said on Friday.

Ospreys forward Francis was injured in the first half of Wales’ Six Nations defeat at Twickenham on 26 February.

Television footage showed him staggering following a clash of heads with team-mate Owen Watkin and he also appeared to lean on the post pads for support.

The 29-year-old was subsequently removed from the pitch for a head injury assessment that he passed, before returning and playing until the 55th minute.

Player welfare lobby group Progressive Rugby wrote an open letter to World Rugby, the Welsh Rugby Union (WRU) and the Six Nations expressing concern over the incident.

The Six Nations’ HIA review panel admitted Francis should have been replaced under World Rugby guidelines, but said it “will not be taking any subsequent disciplinary action”.

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“The HIA review panel concluded that in this instance one or more ‘Criteria 1′ indications had been present that should have resulted in Francis being immediately and permanently removed from play,” a statement from Six Nations organisers said.

“As part of the review process, the panel found that a number of factors appeared to have contributed to the failure to identify these indications, that ultimately led to Francis not being removed from the field of play. As such, a set of recommendations has been put forward by the panel, that warrants consideration.

“The panel highlighted that it had the benefit of time for review of the video footage and the other materials at length, without any match-day pressure, and also had access to more camera angles and clips than the match-day medical team.”

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