Saints will have to wait to discover their fate over North incident

Saints will have to wait until early next week to discover whether they will face any punishment for their handling of the George North incident at Welford Road.

Friday, 9th December 2016, 2:21 pm
Updated Wednesday, 14th December 2016, 1:43 pm
George North was injured during last weekend's clash with Leicester Tigers

North was involved in a clash with Leicester Tigers wing Adam Thompstone in the 16th minute of the match, with the Wales wing landing awkwardly after going up to gather a bouncing ball.

Some observers felt North had been knocked unconscious but the player has since tweeted that he was remaining still as he feared he had suffered a neck injury.

He was off the field for eight minutes at Welford Road, having a head injury assessment (HIA) before returning to play the remainder of the match.

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Saints later issued a statement, stressing ‘player welfare is the club’s primary concern’ and insisting that they had followed the World Rugby concussion protocol.

Three days later, on Tuesday, they issued an update, stating North had been sent for an independent assessment and would be stood down from playing until it was complete.

He was not named in the squad for tonight’s clash with Leinster at Franklin’s Gardens, but coach Dorian West says the 24-year-old is ‘living his life as normal’ and has not got any concussion-related symptoms.

Premiership Rugby and the Rugby Football Association (RFU) met with officials from Saints at Franklin’s Gardens on Friday as they sought to discover the full facts surrounding North’s injury.

With rules dictating that any player with confirmed or suspected concussion should be permanently removed from a game, they are assessing whether Saints, who say their medics did not have access to all of the necessary replay angles needed to assess North at the time of the incident, have a case to answer.

The Concussion Management Review Group (CMRG) has the power to recommend a misconduct charge against a club, or an individual, if it is deemed that rules were not followed.

And with the process a rigorous one, it now looks likely that the conclusion that was expected to be reached today will come early next week.