A clash of heads at the Liberty Stadium saw Dan Biggar depart Ospreys' 20-18 defeat to Leinster for eight minutes earlier this evening.
Although the Ospreys' Twitter account noted at the time that the 27-year-old was being treated merely for a nasty gash he suffered during the collision, Biggar did indeed receive a Head Injury Assessment (HIA) while sidelined.
Break in play for treatment to Dan Biggar who has a cut to the head. Blood replacement - Tom Habberfield comes on.
— Ospreys (@ospreys) April 8, 2017
Having departed on the 58-minute mark, Biggar passed the HIA and returned to the field of play on 66 minutes with his head bandaged.
17 minutes later, he missed a relatively straightforward, last-play kick from a central position which would have given the Swansea side victory over Leinster, who moments before had taken a late lead via a monster drop goal from replacement fly-half Ross Byrne.
Biggar's post-match interview, however, as pointed out to us by Dr. Phil O'Halloran, will be considered extremely concerning both by the Ospreys and rugby's powers-that-be. Reflecting on his kick, and a defeat which might well end Ospreys' chances of a home PRO12 semi-final, Biggar told Sky Sports' Graham Simmons:
Can't really remember an awful lot of the last 10 minutes, to be honest. I was a little bit dazed.
This is a rather alarming revelation, despite Biggar passing it off with a wry grin, and one which raises a couple of key questions regarding player welfare both at Ospreys and in rugby generally.
1) If he did receive a HIA, how was he allowed to return to the field of play in a condition where he "can't remember an awful lot of the last 10 minutes"?
2) If he passed his HIA and was allowed to return to the field of play in that condition, how reliable is this protocol with regards to preventing potentially serious head injuries and brain traumas?
— Phil O'Halloran (@philohalloran) April 8, 2017
Asked after the game if the kick might have been taken by Sam Davies, instead, considering Biggar had received treatment for a head injury, Ospreys head coach Steve Tandy said:
Dan went through the HIA, he passed all the tests.
We wouldn't be putting somebody who wasn't right on the field.
I'm sure if Dan didn't really feel like it at the time, he would have probably given the ball to Sam Davies.
Back in December, Northampton were criticised by World Rugby after allowing a clearly injured George North return to the field of play after the Welsh winger passed his HIA. It seems unlikely that Biggar's post-match interview will be the last we'll hear of this specific incident.