Saints avoid sanctions over handling of North head injury


Northampton Saints will not face any punishment for allowing George North to return to the field despite seemingly being knocked out during a Premiership clash with Leicester Tigers this month.

Saints came in for plenty of criticism after Wales wing North was cleared to play on following a Head Injury Assessment during a 19-11 defeat at Welford Road.

North was stood down by Saints and sent to consult an independent expert after his latest head injury, which was sustained following a mid-air collision with Adam Thompstone.

The Northampton medical team accepted that the 24-year-old British and Irish Lion may have lost consciousness and ought not to have been allowed to return to the fray.

The Concussion Management Review Group (CMRG), set up by Premiership Rugby and the Rugby Football Union, ruled that North should not have gone back onto the turf, but will not take any action against the club or any individuals.

"This is the first review into a head injury incident we have seen following the introduction of the concussion management system this season in the Premiership," said Julian Morris, independent chairman of the CMRG.

"We wanted the review, which was primarily around the medical management and treatment of George North, to be thorough and rigorous to ensure that we fully understood the circumstances of this case.

"While the challenges in the consistent delivery of best practice in the on-field management of head injuries in professional sport are recognised, player welfare is paramount to the game of rugby.

"We believe that the clear recommendations put forward by this group will minimise the risk of incidents of this nature happening in the future, as well as providing ways to improve the systems and processes in place to protect the welfare of players."

North could be set to return when Saints face Sale Sharks in the Premiership on Friday.