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World Rugby have explained that match-day doctors did not see footage of Nic White stumble before he was removed for a head injury assessment.

The Australia scrum-half was seen stumbling on TV after suffering two blows to the head during his side’s loss to Ireland, although White returned to the field of play several minutes later after passing a HIA.

As White displayed signs of balance disturbance/ataxia, he should have been removed from the game immediately and permanently, and his head injury was upgraded to a ‘criteria one’ case after the game.

While World Rugby have stated that White should not have been allowed back onto the pitch, they explained that the match-day doctors did not see him stumble as they were reviewing footage of the first blow he took to his head.

World Rugby statement on Nic White.

“The event involved two separate incidents. Given the facts and footage available, it was defensible for the medical team to remove Nic White for an HIA after the first incident,” the statement reads.

“The second incident resulted in criteria one signs according to the World Rugby HIA process, which should have resulted in White’s permanent removal from the field.

“Both the independent match day doctor and team doctor were in the process of reviewing video footage for the first incident when the second occurred.

“The second incident was not communicated to either doctor and therefore, in performing White’s HIA, did not review any additional footage.

“Having been made aware of the second incident after the game, both doctors reviewed the footage and declared a criteria one diagnosis.

“Discrepancies around process and communication, rather than interpretation of player signs, were therefore the key factors to affect this particular HIA process.”

The Wallabies scrum-half was stood down after the game.

White did not take part in Australia’s win against Wales last weekend as he was ordered to stand down for 12 days after his head injury was upgraded to a criteria one case.

The 32-year-old will enjoy a much longer break from contact rugby however, as Australia’s season is over while the Brumbies’ Super Rugby Pacific campaign doesn’t start until late February.

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