Sale Sharks are being investigated for a possible breach of their concussion management protocol after an incident involving back row forward TJ Ioane in last Saturday’s defeat to Harlequins.
Ioane appeared to be injured after receiving a blow to the head while tackling the Harlequins hooker Dave Ward at The Stoop, but returned to his feet and resumed play without being given any medical treatment.
The incident was apparently not picked up by the member of Sale’s medical team appointed to look for instances of concussion during the match, with the assistance of TV replays.
“A concussion management review group panel will convene to examine an incident in the 30th minute of the match between Harlequins and Sale on 7 January, involving Sale player TJ Ioane,” an RFU statement read.
“The RFU and Premiership Rugby have appointed Dr Julian Morris to be the independent chairman and will be joined by the RFU’s director of professional rugby, Nigel Melville, and Phil Winstanley, the rugby director at Premiership Rugby.
“A joint RFU/Premiership Rugby update will be provided in seven days and until that time no further comment will be made.”
The investigation comes less than a month after Northampton were the subject after Northampton were the subject of an inquiry into the handling of George North’s latest blow to the head.
What are the rules?
- With suspected concussion, club doctors have 13 minutes to decide if a player can return to the field.
- All Premiership grounds and Twickenham have medical teams with access to replays to help that decision.
- Any player with confirmed or suspected concussion will be permanently removed.
The 27-year-old Samoan has not been named in the team that travels to Toulon in the Champions Cup on Sunday- kick off 3.15pm .
Steve Diamond has made several changes to his side, and named Will Addison as captain. The front row is unchanged from last week, with Ross Harrison, Rob Webber, and Halani Aulika starting. Jonathan Mills comes into the starting XV, replacing Andrei Ostrikov, and he partners Bryn Evans. There are three changes in the back row, with Magnus Lund, David Seymour and Laurence Pearce starting.
Mike Phillips is named at scrum half, starting alongside Sam James at fly-half. Mark Jennings partners captain Addison in the centres. Paolo Odogwu & Josh Charnley start on the wings, with Mike Haley at full back.
Sale Sharks: 15. Mike Haley 14. Paolo Odogwu 13. Will Addison (capt.) 12. Mark Jennings 11. Josh Charnley 10. Sam James 9. Mike Phillips 1. Ross Harrison 2. Rob Webber 3. Halani Aulika 4. Bryn Evans 5. Jonathan Mills 6. Magnus Lund 7. David Seymour 8. Laurence Pearce Replacements: 16. Neil Briggs 17. James Flynn 18. Kieran Longbottom 19. George Nott 20. Ben Curry 21. Tom Curry 22. James Mitchell 23. Dan Mugford
Ahead of the European tie, Diamond said: “The team is playing well, but it’s not converting enough of the opportunities created, we just need to go there and convert them against a stiffer opposition -that’s the job in hand. We need to go out there and be highly competitive.”