Rugby

World Cup head injury rules tweaked after All Blacks protest

AP

New Zealand coach Steve Hansen has welcomed a tweak to the head injury assessment rules after flanker Sam Cane missed the second half against South Africa in the Rugby World Cup.

Cane was called for a head injury assessment while in the changing room at halftime of the pool match on Saturday in Yokohama. Unfortunately for Cane, the testing room was on the other side of the stadium. By the time he reached the room and was tested, the 10-minute limit for returning to the game had long passed. He was cleared, but had to sit out the second half of New Zealand’s 23-13 win.

New Zealand raised the issue with match officials, and World Rugby changed the rule for this tournament and certain stadiums, only.

“With immediate effect, the official 10-minute HIA window will commence from the moment the temporarily replaced player enters the HIA room, rather than when the player leaves the playing area,” World Rugby said in a statement. “This is to facilitate slightly longer distances to the HIA room from the field of play at some of the venues.”

Hansen was satisfied that “common sense” prevailed.

“I wasn’t overly happy about it last night when one of (our) best players is missing 40 minutes of the game. But it is what it is,” Hansen said Sunday. He said World Rugby had “shown good leadership.”

“They’ve acknowledged that they haven’t got that part of it right and they’ve changed it,” he said.

After the Ireland-Scotland match on Sunday, International Stadium Yokohama will host two more pool games, both semifinals, and the final.

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