Although many expected the Northampton Saints to be sanctioned after returning George North to the field of play during their clash with the Leicester Tigers on December 3, the RFU’s Concussion Management Review Group (CMRG) have decided not to impose any punishment on the embattled club.
North suffered what looked to be a serious concussion following a dangerous Adam Thompstone challenge during the 11th minute of the Premiership encounter between the Saints and Tigers. The Welsh winger lay motionless on the floor following the incident, and was removed from the field to undergo a Head Injury Assessment.
Despite the nature of the incident, North was returned eight minutes later, and the Saints subsequently issued a statement claiming that the winger did not suffer a concussion. Although the player himself declared on twitter that he had suffered a neck injury, the images being broadcast live on BT Sport suggested otherwise.
Indeed, the Saints subsequently admitted that North may have had suffered a concussion, but maintained that their medical staff were unable to review footage of his collision with Thompstone. This shocked most observers, as replays of the incident were readily available on the big screen.
Northampton’s position drew anger from commentators and fans, with most expecting the club to be at least fined once the CMRG had concluded their investigation.
However, despite finding that “there was sufficient evidence to conclude not only from the video evidence but also George North’s history and risk stratification that he should not have returned to the field of play”, the Saints have not been sanctioned for their misconduct.
Despite many assuming North was knocked out cold as he lay on the ground, the report states that he did so due to concern over his neck.
Northampton Saints escape punishment for treatment of George North pic.twitter.com/llye9Ug2fW
— Dan Roan (@danroan) December 21, 2016
Alan Drumm, Pundit Arena