A thrilling day's action in the Champions Cup has been overshadowed somewhat by more flagrant flouting of rules necessary to protect the safety of players.
Head injuries and concussions offer an existential threat to rugby, and while there is often talk about changing the rules: be it lowering the tackle, or adapting and improving the Head Injury Assessment rules, they will achieve little if ignorance prevails. As it did yesterday.
Clermont faced Northampton yesterday afternoon, during which scrum-half Morgan Parra shipped a hideous blow when tackling burly Luther Burrell. Parra's head collided with Burrell's knee, and was flattened immediately. Referee Ben Whitehouse stopped the game, and beckoned Clermont's medical team onto the field. He informed that Parra was unconscious, which is audible in the video below:
Parra brought back on despite referee stating he was unconscious.
The HIA fails once again. pic.twitter.com/AvrFWXoiEK
— RugbyLAD (@RugbyLAD7) October 21, 2017
In spite of this, Parra underwent a HIA and returned to play. This is not solely an issue with the HIA: rules dictate that if a player is knocked unconscious, he or she must be removed from the play immediately, there are no grounds for a HIA.
Clermont went on to win the game, but did lose French international Camille Lopez to a broken leg during the game.