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Tuesday 21 February 2017

North set to sit out duel with Blues

George North has been 'stood down' by the Northampton Saints. Photo: Sportsfile
George North has been 'stood down' by the Northampton Saints. Photo: Sportsfile

It is highly unlikely Leinster will have to deal with Northampton's greatest strike runner George North on Friday night.

The English club has taken a step back from its' seemingly ridiculous initial stance over the health of the Welsh international, following a mid-air collision with Leicester Tiger Adam Thompstone last Saturday night.

"As at every Aviva Premiership match, the Saints' medical team has access to video footage to be used to assist the pitchside assessment of injuries," read a statement from the club yesterday.

"It is important to note this video footage is not always the full range of replay angles available to the TV viewing audience at home."

It was patently clear from the television footage that North had been knocked unconscious.

Based on the statement, the current guidelines allow for the television audience at home to have a better idea, in certain cases, of the severity of injury than does the medical team on site.

This is mind-bogglingly stupid, never mind irresponsible.

"George was fully assessed by the doctor away from the pitch, using the established protocols and processes, and passed fit to return to play," the statement continued.

"As with all such injuries, if evidence suggesting a loss of consciousness had been available to the medical team at the time of assessment, George would not have been allowed to return to the field of play."

The sight of North returning to the game just six minutes after his removal did nothing but bring the image and conscience of the game into question.

This is highlighted by the head injury history endured by North, especially being twice knocked out playing for Wales and twice allowed back to play, all in the same international against England and for Northampton against Wasps, both in early 2015.

Leinster have their own concussion issues as Robbie Henshaw and Rob Kearney are working their way towards full-fitness.

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