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Former Scottish Coach Under Fire For Controversial HIA Comments

BY Philip Bendon  ·  Tuesday Nov 22, 2022

Former Scottish second row turned media mogul Jim Hamilton has taken aim at former Scottish head coach Matt Williams following the Ireland vs Australia clash this past weekend.

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Speaking to Virgin Media post-match, Williams said that he felt it was correct for Wallabies Scrumhalf Nic White to return to action following a heavy tackle that left the player wobbling on his feet.

White would pass the HIA protocol with the independent doctor and returned to the field of play.

Williams was in disagreement with his fellow panellist Joe Molloy and Rob Kearney who both felt White should not have returned to the pitch.

Molloy opened the dialogue by saying, “Here is the crucial point, that stumble there,” as the panel watched footage of White with the Wallabies medical staff.

Molloy continued, “He has the initial conversation with the physio, he then gets back to his feet. We then see in a moment there is another stumble. These were two head knocks in succession.”

“The referee says I think he need to go, there is a stumble there.” In the background you can here the referee Ben O’Keefe say “I saw him stumbled there.”

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Continuing on Molly says “The HIA is not perfect, the HIA is there to ensure someone can do their best to assess a concussion in 10 minutes.”

“World Rugby rules as follows, any player with concussion or suspected concussion should immediately and permanently be removed from training and playing.”

“Any of the following clearly indicate a concussion, so I have picked out two which I feel are very applicable in this case.”

“Unsteady on feet and struggling with balance or poor coordination. Secondly a dazed blank look. The second one is more debatable but I have no doubt that I saw a stumble.”

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“In that instance as I understand it, HIA is irrelevant. He should not come back to the field of play.” Molloy concluded.

Irish legend Kearney was in agreed with Molloy saying “No, for me that is pretty uncomfortable viewing.”

“There is so much talk about concussion in our game, we are watching documentaries, we are hearing of legal court cases. I have had a few concussions in my career and I sometimes wonder am I going to be ok in 5-10 years time.”

“I look at an image like that and it’s tough to watch. We have a little bit of disagreement in the studio when it happened but for me there is no way he should’ve been returning to the field of play.” Kearney concluded.

It was at this point that Williams interjected, “I totally disagree, we are not doctors. We can talk about scrums, we can talk about line-outs and I am all over it.”

“He goes off to an independent doctor, the doctors look at the foot and look there could be 101 reasons why he stumbles.”

“He has just been smashed inside a ruck and it hurts, it hurts your ribs. I am not defending it but it is not our place to judge because it is a medical decision.”

The debate then rages on and makes for fascinating viewing, check out the full reply below.

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