Northampton Saints treatment of George North ‘disappoints’ World Rugby

World Rugby says it is “disappointed” by Northampton Saints’ failure to identify and treat George North’s most recent head injury “appropriately”.

Following these discussions with the Rugby Football Union and Premiership Rugby, a World Rugby statement recognised that the RFU and PRL acted swiftly and appropriately to implement measures with Northampton Saints and other clubs to reduce the probability of future non-compliance.

World Rugby Chairman Bill Beaumont said: “While we acknowledge that errors in the correct application of the process may happen from time to time, we must continue to strive to make our game as safe as possible for players at all levels of the game.



“The head injury management process, including the HIA, is successfully protecting players and what this case shows is that all stakeholders must redouble their efforts to ensure they are implemented fully and correctly.

“I’d like to thank our colleagues at the RFU for their full cooperation in this matter and for conducting a thorough review. World Rugby will continue to work closely with all unions to ensure an environment of compliance in this important area.”

World Rugby’s recommendations
  • Complete compliance with the mandatory six-point head injury education, prevention, and management programme as outlined within the conditions of use of the HIA (Head Injury Assessment) tool.
  • Any clear or suspected symptom of concussion results in immediate and permanent removal of the player from the match or training session. The HIA is not applicable where a symptom of suspected concussion is observed – Recognise and Remove.
  • Individual risk stratification of players as outlined in the conditions of HIA adoption is a priority and all management should undertake concussion education as outlined on World Rugby’s player welfare website.
  • Unions and competition owners are aware of their obligation under the conditions of HIA adoption that untoward incident reviews should operate where there are cases of apparent non-compliance with rugby’s head injury protocols.
  • They prioritise Recognise and Remove education via social and digital platforms to educate the entire rugby community in the importance of recognising symptoms and immediately permanently removing any players with clear or suspected symptoms from playing or training.
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