World Rugby urged to follow RFL return-to-play lead

·2-min read

World Rugby has been advised to follow the example of rugby league in the battle to reduce the effect of repeated head knocks in the sport.

The Rugby Football League has opted to extend return-to-play protocols which mean players who fail concussion tests in games or at training must now wait at least 11 days before playing again.

That has been increased from seven days while in elite rugby union the minimum requirement remains at six.

Progressive Rugby, a lobby group formed to lead the bid to tackle the issue of serious head and brain injury, is hoping the move will prompt officials of the 15-man code to take similar action.

Professor Bill Ribbans, of behalf of Progressive Rugby, said: “We applaud the RFL for addressing the game’s graduated return-to-play protocol (GRTP) and sending a strong message that playing a contact sport within a week of suffering a concussion is no longer acceptable.

“To World Rugby, we re-iterate our call for an initial amendment to the GRTP so that players are stood down for a minimum period of 12 days and hope that the RFL’s decision may provide the impetus to do so.”

Former England forward James Haskell, a prominent member of the group, added on social media: “Well done rugby league! Turns out you can make instant changes. Come on @WorldRugby.

“Times a ticking. If you want to put me in charge I will show you how to change it all in a few days.”

Chris Boyd to depart Northampton

Northampton director of rugby Chris Boyd is expected to leave his position at the end of this season and return home to his native New Zealand, according to numerous reports.

Boyd, who has overseen a transformation in Northampton’s playing philosophy since taking over in 2018, leaves behind him the roots of a new and exciting young coaching staff, featuring Sam Vesty and Phil Dowson.

The 63-year-old will remain involved with Saints by taking up a consultancy role from afar, while it is thought that Northampton do not intend making an outside appointment when Boyd departs.

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