Munster rugby has rushed to defend their handling of Conor Murray’s suspected head injury and return to play against Glasgow in the Champions Cup on Saturday.
An accidental clash of heads with Tim Swinson saw both players receive treatment on the field and while both were deemed fit to continue, it appeared to take the Munster scrum-half a few minutes to shake of the knock he received.
Murray was ultimately called ashore by medics where he underwent and subsequently passed HIA (head injury assessment) testing. However, given the time between the incident and when he actually left the field of play, the EPCR ordered a review of Munster’s handling of the incident.
Now, the province’s Communications Manager Fiona Murphy has revealed to the Irish Examiner that not only did the influential Ireland scrum-half pass the initial five-and-a-half minute HIA immediately following the incident, but he also subsequently passed his HIA2 and HIA3 assessments following the game.
“We’re working with EPCR and anything to do with player welfare is welcome from our point of view.
“We’ll work with EPCR on anything like that.
“Everything we did (in treating Murray) was in keeping with World Rugby guidelines in terms of timings and the medical processes, as it has been with every head injury.”
The issue of head injuries in the sport has taken centre stage in recent months. Following a number of high profile injuries to the likes of Leinster’s Johnny Sexton and Wales star George North, new directives on the definition of a high tackle have been introduced by World Rugby since the start of the year.
Any incident that calls into question the health and well being of a player is now being closely monitored by rugby’s governing bodies, and rightly so.
While there is no indication at this time that the EPCR or World Rugby will deliver a negative ruling on Munster’s handling of Conor Murray on Saturday, you might well expect that further changes may be on the way that will force players off immediately following such incidents in order to undergo assessment.
Gary Brennan, Pundit Arena