Australian rugby introduces blue card to combat concussion

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Blue cards will be introduced to Australia's premier domestic rugby competition in 2018 in a bid to combat head injuries.

Referees will be able to show players the new card if they display signs of concussion, forcing them to leave the field to pass a head injury assessment before returning.

The changes have been trialled at country clubs in the Australian Capital Territory and Newcastle this year and will now be used in the NRC.

"Country rugby clubs have paved the way to make the game safer for everyone and soon our elite Super Rugby athletes will be following this protocol and setting the standards worldwide," Australian Rugby Union head of community rugby services Lachlan Clark said.

"Australian rugby will also assist in educating coaches, first aid personnel and match officials as well as provide a competition management system which logs all concussion cases."

England's Premiership and Championship are this season trialling the use of saliva samples to determine whether players are fit to continue following a head knock.