Gregor Townsend questions ‘smart mouthguard’ that forced Zander Fagerson off pitch

Zander Fagerson and Elliot Millar-Mills - Gregor Townsend questions ‘smart mouthguard’ technology that forced Zander Fagerson off pitch

Gregor Townsend, the Scotland head coach, has raised concerns about the use of mouthguard technology after Scotland prop Zander Fagerson was removed for a head injury assessment during the first-half of their Calcutta Cup win against England.

The “smart mouthgard” indicated an alert and England took control of the scrum while Fagerson was off the pitch being assessed.

“I saw the tackle again – just a normal tackle. I think we have to really watch what we’re doing here. Trust in technology that’s not been proven,” said Townsend. “What we’ve been doing over the last few years is making sure that any symptoms that are seen, a number of people can flag up whether someone goes off for an HIA.

“Zander was taken off for 10 minutes after what looked like a normal tackle but there was a spike alert from the mouthguard.

“I know in Super Rugby there were a couple of alerts and players were saying ‘there’s nothing wrong here, I’ve just made a tackle’, so we’ve got to watch that because you don’t want to be taking off our best players off the field for 10 minutes if there are no issues around concussion.

“We want to protect our players, that’s for certain, but there’s a bit more work to do before this technology is correct.”

A fortnight ago Scotland hooker George Turner became the first player in the Six Nations to be forced off the field by his “smart mouthguard”.

“I don’t think there was any more that came out of it but we just have to watch what we’re doing here with bringing technology in that might have an influence for not the correct reasons, let’s say,” Townsend said after the France defeat.

“But thankfully George came back on after 10 minutes and I thought Ewan Ashman played really well in that period, and did when he came off the bench at the end too.”