SANZAAR Respond To Calls For All Blacks Punishment Following SBW Head Injury

Southern hemisphere rugby’s governing body has said Sonny Bill Williams should have been removed from last week’s game against Australia after suffering a head knock.

Just two minutes into the game Williams suffered a nasty bang after making a tackle. He appeared to be completely out of it and almost motionless on the ground, before getting up dazed and confused by what had just happened

Williams however, was not checked by his team’s medical staff or the independent Head Injury Assessment (HIA) doctor.

Governing body SANZAAR reviewed video footage of the incident and said that the centre had experienced ataxia, the loss of control of body movements, and should have been removed immediately from the field of play. The All Blacks are not being held accountable however, as they feel it was not deliberate.

“SANZAAR has now completed its review of the incident and … there has not been a deliberate failure or an ‘Untoward Incident’ … and as such finds no actions that constitute misconduct,” it said in a statement.

They did say that the incident should have been identified during the match and have contacted all four teams in the competition to remind them of their responsibilities under World Rugby regulations.

“This is an unfortunate set of circumstances given the acute focus and attention we are all applying to player safety and in particular the HIA protocols,” SANZAAR Chief Executive Andy Marinos said.
“As a consequence, and even though there was no deliberate failure apparent, SANZAAR has taken the opportunity to strongly reinforce World Rugby HIA protocols including video analysis during the game, to all teams, match day medical staff and match officials participating in the Rugby Championship.”

Williams was cleared of any concussion symptoms after the game and while he was given just a light training load earlier this week, was included in the All Blacks side for their second game against the Wallabies in Dunedin on Saturday.

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