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Monday Mar 30, 2015

George North knocked out again as Nathan Hughes gets red card for knee

George North knocked out again as Nathan Hughes gets red card for knee
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Comments

Northampton Saints winger George North received another blow to the head that has resulted in concussion and more concern about his long term playing career. The incident happened as he scored in Saints’ 52-30 victory over Wasps on Friday.

Last week that we highlighted the concern about repeated Leigh Halfpenny concussions, but this time it was Wales teammate North that was knocked out, albeit in entirely different circumstances.

He finished down the wing after some excellent play from Samu Manoa, but in the process was struck in the head by Wasps number eight Nathan Hughes. It looked entirely accidental, but the referee felt it was clumsy and could have been avoided, so showed Hughes a red card.

North was struck in the head twice in Wales’ recent Six Nations clash with England, causing a controversy over the way that was handled.

On this occasion he was clearly in no state to continue, and left the field on a stretcher. He later tweeted that he was up and about, and according to coach Jim Mallinder, was at the club on Saturday to receive treatment and further monitoring.

World Rugby (IRB) concussion advisor Professor Willie Stewart said that 22-year-old North needs to be given an extended period of rest to figure out if this is something that he has just not recovered from, or whether there are genuine issues.

“I think he personally needs to say, ‘No, I’m not playing again this season’. If he does play again too soon it could be the end of his World Cup or even his career,” explained Stewart.

“The people looking after him, including Northampton and the Welsh Rugby Union, should be recommending some time out and the experts he is seeing should recommend some time out. No-one should be talking about playing him next week. That’s just ridiculous.

“I know at this time of year we’re getting into the thick of it for trophies and championships but it’s also getting into the sharp end for George’s brain. I would be surprised if he makes another appearance,” he added.

As for the actual incident, Hughes seemed to ask the referee how he was expected to lift his leg up to avoid North in that situation. Saints coach Mallinder didn’t have too much sympathy though. “The opposition have got to then be very careful once the try is scored and it was reckless coming in with the knee. Some serious consequences happened because of it” he said.

Wasps coach Dai Young, who had a miserable night at the office, said that the Hughes dismissal was harsh and that he certainly isn’t a malicious player.

“I hope George is okay, Nathan has gone looking for him to make sure he is okay – he is not that type of person [who would injure someone deliberately].”

View a highlights wrap from the match, which includes North’s first try

UPDATE 31/03/15:
Hughes has been banned for three weeks. Disciplinary hearing details

photo: tony marshall/getty images europe

Nathan Hughes (Wasps Rugby) appeared before an RFU Disciplinary panel this evening, charged with striking with the knee and/or shin, contrary to Law 10.4(a), during Northampton Saints v Wasps RFC on Friday March 27 in the Aviva Premiership.

Hughes was found guilty of the charge and given a three-week ban*, starting today (March 31). He is free to play again on April 28.

Commenting on the judgement, Sir James Dingemans said “This was a three week ban on the basis that no intention was found.

“However, there was recklessness meaning that, notwithstanding the harm, it was a low entry point of four weeks with mitigation of one week to reflect his previous clean playing record.”

The Panel comprised Sir James Dingemans (Chair), Aidan O’Brien and Martyn Wood.

*To include three meaningful fixtures.

70 Comments

  • diesel6
    9:00 PM 17/04/2015

    Seldom when you go to the elbow, knee or fore head in a tackle is it non intentional. Anyone one ever given or received a Tongan Stiff Arm? When someone scores during a pivotal point in the match as this was and they are subsequently knocked unconscious it is most always going to draw the card. Rough play is a part of the elegant violence but head hunting whether intentional or not will disadvantage your team. Sin Bin is seldom worth it and timing is everything. That being said I play tomorrow and its for the league title and there will be blood...The sir had better shine his cards up if necessary.

    Reply
  • danknapp
    2:34 PM 02/04/2015

    I also like cous cous, especially with a gentle spice flavouring and a selection of roasted vegetables. A nice lamb tagine in the centre of the table and a full-bodied red. #LadsOnTour

    Reply
  • kettlerugby
    2:06 PM 02/04/2015

    They did get a penalty on halfway after the try you numpty

    Reply
  • drg
    9:52 AM 02/04/2015

    The thing is Dave, I weigh nearly 230lbs (converted it just for you (: ) and I can still step backs, spin out of tackles and remain somewhat elusive (I'm a second row/back row).. Granted an extra 50lbs is a lot more weight, but the guy is a professional athlete. I'm not suggesting he jumps, nor am I suggesting he did this on purpose. I just think his weight is not really a great excuse. Kelly Haimona is Italy's current fly half, he weighs 235lbs... He has silky foot work, of course that is comparing forwards and backs, but every player has the ability to somewhat control themselves. I honestly think Hughes was trying to brush past North, or perhaps dislodge the ball as he went past. I don't believe he was aiming to injure or KO North at all.

    Reply
  • drg
    9:43 AM 02/04/2015

    Dave, the guy is a professional athlete, he's not a 280lb couch potato... I've known fat props weighing 250 who are more agile than ballerinas..

    Reply
  • chichinho
    11:46 PM 01/04/2015

    Way too many cheap shots going in after a try is scored at all levels. Bring back and enforce the penalty from the half way line after a try for any in goal offences!

    Reply
  • drg
    8:10 PM 01/04/2015

    I was wondering if this was the case myself... trying to sort of rough him up by brushing past...

    Reply
  • drg
    8:09 PM 01/04/2015

    Not saying it isn't an appropriate retaliation... but it's still worth a ban ;)

    Reply
  • drg
    8:06 PM 01/04/2015

    ....Am I the only one here that is a fan of cous-cous?

    Reply
  • tphillipsstl
    7:49 PM 01/04/2015

    agreed. In my earlier comment I brought it up as reason to give him a stiff ban, but acknowledging that he was not intentionally trying to kick GN in the head. I think the 4 weeks with a 1 week reduction based on previous record is reasonable. Unlike the Nick Williams ban, which was cut in half for his previous record. They should take more than citings into account when making that decision.

    Reply
  • stroudos
    5:18 PM 01/04/2015

    "Stroudos is pretty old-school in his love of physicality", said Mrs Stroudos.

    Reply
  • danknapp
    3:55 PM 01/04/2015

    Stroudos is correct in his summary, I've been scratching my head that you two haven't just bonded immediately. Your last post is probably your best because you took some time in writing it and didn't just fire it off. This is a great community where most people think about what they write and it generally adds to the debate. I think what soccer lacks that rugby has is a general sense of respect on and off the field. I think some of your posts have been quite combative on this and previous videos, which is a shame because it detracts from some good points. I don't think it's necessary. Stroudos is pretty old-school in his love of physicality, and I think the fact that he takes a little more time to think about what he writes probably makes you think that you don't have a lot in common.

    Reply
  • stroudos
    12:25 PM 01/04/2015

    Phill, I think my original point to you was simply that it actually looks worse in real-time; only in slow motion can you start to make those mitigating points in Hughes's defence. The whole "intent" thing is extremely unhelpful - and impossible to prove without a lie detector. If I get my angles wrong in defence and accidentally swing my arm across the ball-carrier's throat, it's still a high tackle whether I meant it or not. If you throw a forward pass purely through shit execution, should the ref let it go? You and I actually agree on a lot of stuff, particularly that we both enjoy a physical game and a bit of "enforcement" too. Where we differ is you seem to have some objection to the laws of the game actually being applied.

    Reply
  • jimmy23
    12:21 PM 01/04/2015

    Obviously he's trolling, otherwise he would be seriously suggesting that a flying head-butt to the back of the head is an appropriate retaliation for holding on to a shirt for a couple of seconds.

    Reply
  • danknapp
    9:41 AM 01/04/2015

    And I've gone and spelt humous wrong, so now everybody is going to laugh at me. Look what you made me do.

    Reply
  • danknapp
    9:41 AM 01/04/2015

    I don't get it, amongst many bad arguments you make the occasional good point, but then litter your posts with bizarre grammatical mistakes and odd references to food. This might be a bloody good postmodern critique of twentieth century literary conventions. I normally find the 'go and play tiddlywinks' argument irritating, but in your case I find your food references genuinely fascinating. Did you have some sort of bad experience with health food as a child? Did quinoa touch you? Did homous make you do things?

    Reply
  • stroudos
    9:06 AM 01/04/2015

    :)

    Reply
  • stroudos
    9:04 AM 01/04/2015

    1st paragraph - absolutely spot on mate.

    Reply
  • drg
    12:39 AM 01/04/2015

    Not sure if you're trolling... Bakkies head butted a guy... Granted it was Cowan and I don't know how long he was banned for... but head butting someone like Bakkies did deserves a ban.

    Reply
  • danknapp
    8:09 PM 31/03/2015

    Van Damme has been played. Go home everyone, that's enough internet for one day.

    Reply
  • danknapp
    8:06 PM 31/03/2015

    You lost me at vegan.

    Reply
  • danknapp
    8:04 PM 31/03/2015

    I don't think he's a knob. I just think he looks like he got picked up by a minibus each morning before school.

    Reply
  • danknapp
    8:03 PM 31/03/2015

    Wait, who did I sleep with? If it was Cipriani I'll accept that. Although I regret not making jokes about 'covering tackle' and 'the up and under', as well as the obligatory 'coming off feet'.

    Reply
  • drg
    6:06 PM 31/03/2015

    If Ashton didn't come across as such a knob then I'd probably be a fan of him, but his 'Ash splash' thing came and went quicker than a British summer...

    Reply
  • thesweeney
    5:25 PM 31/03/2015

    Jonny, even accidental the outcome alone warrants the red, and the ref was right!

    Reply
  • thesweeney
    5:18 PM 31/03/2015

    Sorry Lewis but definitely was a red! Even without intent NH has a duty of care to ensure he does not cause injury. Remember the Jared Payne red in HCup v Sarries, same principle; by all means challenge for everything but when your timing is wrong you have to carry the can. GN out for the season and you think a yellow OK? Ref was correct and should be applauded as he did make a few howlers, but not that one

    Reply
  • stroudos
    1:42 PM 31/03/2015

    Correct. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KR_x3PTYvm4

    Reply
  • stroudos
    1:34 PM 31/03/2015

    Well that's what Danny Cipriani told me anyway.

    Reply
  • colombes
    1:31 PM 31/03/2015

    Shockingly realist and brave analysis by Hape. IRB and rugby feds always tend to create laws or extend bans when big 'immediate' injuries occure. But concussions 'a posteriori' effects aren't well approached. I love rugby union physical vision of the game, but the influence of rugby league and american football defences has increased risks. If not big changes, i fear rugby players will have to wear helmets in 2020

    Reply
  • jimmy23
    12:26 PM 31/03/2015

    Red was very harsh really, it was clumsy and a yellow card at most. He probably should have tried to stop a bit earlier but then again it can't be easy stopping that frame at that speed. You'd have to be a seriously messed up person to want to kick someone's head, not to mention seriously stupid considering how many cameras are on you at the time *cough, Bakkies Botha on Jimmy Cowan *cough

    Reply
  • danknapp
    11:14 AM 31/03/2015

    This year's running jokes include Chris Ashton and Twitter apologies. They make me feel safe and secure. It must be like our grandparents and talking about the war. Are we going to bore our grandchildren with talk about Chris Ashton?

    Reply
  • danknapp
    11:10 AM 31/03/2015

    That was a girl?

    Reply
  • danknapp
    11:09 AM 31/03/2015

    No, but they are SO HOT right now babe.

    Reply
  • danknapp
    11:09 AM 31/03/2015

    Does your mum know you're on her computer?

    Reply
  • rugbydump
    10:13 AM 31/03/2015

    DW, you can see it here http://www.rugbydump.com/2015/03/4179/nick-williams-cited-for-dangerous-challenge-that-sent-rhys-patchell-to-hospital

    Reply
  • drg
    9:52 AM 31/03/2015

    Very interesting about the cognitive tests... Although: "Subsequent scans revealed his brain function had been reduced to just above that of someone with special needs and he was advised to retire." Not entirely sure what they'd reveal in the majority of front row forwards and Chris Ashton... ""Things got so bad I couldn't even remember my pin number" Happened to me during my dissertation, I went about 48 hours with no sleep... needed some cash and froze at the machine. Although it was sleep related for me, it was pretty frightening... especially as later that day after some sleep it just came to me. Can't imagine how terrifying it would be to know it was something to do with a head injury.

    Reply
  • drg
    9:43 AM 31/03/2015

    couple = 2 YES! Stroudos 20 - DrG 1

    Reply
  • drg
    9:31 AM 31/03/2015

    Jumping over players is not always a guaranteed option, how many times have you seen a player dive to ground the ball and sort of be up on their feet as they're sliding almost instantly, in which case jumping would send you straight into him. Anyway, I'm not saying it would ever be the case here, as North was not in much of a position to get up after scoring... just putting it out there.

    Reply
  • stroudos
    9:15 AM 31/03/2015

    Well said

    Reply
  • stroudos
    9:14 AM 31/03/2015

    Pretty shocking: http://www.espnscrum.com/france-top-14-2013-14/rugby/story/227907.html

    Reply
  • stroudos
    8:36 AM 31/03/2015

    By the way - what a try! Beautiful aerial take by Manoa and a sweet offload. Great step and the usual pace and strength by North to finish. Seems a shame we're debating a bloke's wellbeing when we could be just celebrating a textbook example of how to score from a restart.

    Reply
  • stroudos
    8:34 AM 31/03/2015

    PhillNZ, couple points mate: - In full speed it looks like he just walks over and deliberately kicks a bloke in the head. - Kicking the ball out of a try-scorers' hands is not part of rugby. - their heads - decent

    Reply
  • finedisregard
    1:50 AM 31/03/2015

    George North is shot. He is obviously now prone to concussions and will remain so forever. There are no exercises in the gym to increase your cerebrospinal fluid. This is the outcome of bigger, faster, stronger mentality in pro collision sports.

    Reply
  • marty
    12:03 AM 31/03/2015

    actually, I thought it looked worst on full speed....

    Reply
  • elvis15
    11:27 PM 30/03/2015

    The red is a tough call on Hughes, but he has to be more careful in how he plans that outcome. Players at that level are very aware of timing and he had to know he wasn't close enough to get his foot under the ball to prevent grounding. At best he'd be hoping it wasn't grounded at first and he could kick it out, but then with the ball around the head that would be extremely reckless. What's more likely is he was careless about coming in to support the tackle and then had no where to step without making contact. That's still on Hughes, but red card/deliberate is a tough outcome. Hopefully it'll teach him to be more careful as no one wants to see injuries from accidental but preventable situations.

    Reply
  • timh
    10:38 PM 30/03/2015

    What good would a scrum cap have done in this instance? See Facepalm's comment above, and the many previous comments on other concussion incidents - scrum caps offer *no* protection for that type of injury...

    Reply
  • flanker2712
    9:55 PM 30/03/2015

    Could not agree more.

    Reply
  • facepalm
    9:54 PM 30/03/2015

    Totally agree with you on this one. I love Hughes, he's an awesome player and clearly didn't try to knock North unconscious. I'm not sure I see him trying to kick the ball out of North's hands (probably because I'm looking through blue and black tinted glasses). But all that is irrelevant when a player is lying spread eagle and motionless on the turf. I think someone's already mentioned the O'Connell/Kearney incident. I think the Payne/Goode incident is also totally relevant. For me, intent and motivations should influence the length of ban but the colour of the card surely can't be affected when something this dangerous has happened.

    Reply
  • sidestepper
    9:03 PM 30/03/2015

    I think Dai might just be trying to protecting his player there Stroudos. He'll likely feel a little aggrieved at the situation because, like you said earlier, these kind of challenges tend to fly in under the radar of most referees. It was certainly reckless and cost Wasps the game. Has 'sorry' become one of the most pointless words in the world of sport? I think maybe so.

    Reply
  • sidestepper
    8:48 PM 30/03/2015

    For my money it's a red card, I just hope George is made to sit out the rest of the season now. He's had maybe 5 concussion incidents this season and that's far too many. As much as it would pain me, if a doctor recommends he also sits out the world cup I would hope he'd follow his advice.

    Reply
  • drg
    8:15 PM 30/03/2015

    I don't know whether this is truly intentional, a freak accident, or a player trying to sort of 'impose' himself by showing how 'close' he was to getting North. However whatever happened I'd be inclined to label this as reckless so I can sort of see where the red is coming from.

    Reply
  • drg
    8:13 PM 30/03/2015

    ...To be fair, it wasn't like he had to go looking far either...

    Reply
  • stroudos
    7:35 PM 30/03/2015

    Dai Young: Nathan has gone looking for him to make sure he is okay - he is not that type of person [who would injure someone deliberately]." Oh well that's all right then! I trust there will be a Twitter apology issued shortly too...

    Reply
  • stroudos
    7:32 PM 30/03/2015

    I've had enough of these cheap shots on players in the act of scoring. Which is precisely what this is. It's become much more prevalent in recent years - players with clearly no chance of preventing the try sliding in with elbows and knees flailing, pretending that they're somehow "trying to hold the ball up". At least that sort of involves using the hands. You are not allowed to kick the ball out of a player's hands at any time, let alone when he's stretched out on the ground. Should be at least a penalty even if he hadn't made contact. This type of "reckless" action needs to be eliminated, in my opinion.

    Reply
  • stroudos
    7:27 PM 30/03/2015

    Exactly. I cannot comprehend how people are defending this.

    Reply
  • stroudos
    7:26 PM 30/03/2015

    Apparently. And one of them lives in High Wycombe and the other once slept with a girl from Coventry.

    Reply
  • stroudos
    7:25 PM 30/03/2015

    Not having a pop at you, especially as I agree with the rest of your comment, but this point keeps coming up and needs to be addressed. "Trying to to stick his foot in to stop the grounding" is not allowed in the laws of the game. The reason for this presumably is to avoid people being kicked in the head.

    Reply
  • danknapp
    7:12 PM 30/03/2015

    [ ] because they are trying to hold the ball up [ ] because they are already in the process of attempting to tackle the player [ ] because they are celebrating [ ] for the lolz [ ] because they are eeeevil and want to destroy all that the Good Lord made.

    Reply
  • toddels
    6:47 PM 30/03/2015

    Seriously, Mr. Hughes could and should have made the jump-over if there was no intent. He clearly had planted that left foot to do so, but chose to go for the ball, or make some chip at the face. Even if this wasn't in the try zone, in open play, this would've been an infraction from coming from the side in a breakdown. Clearly wrong from so many angles. As an American, seeing concussions is all to familiar, I want Rugby to be the example that they can occur less in this game, promoting Rugby over American Football for safety of play and still being the toughest sport around. We just need better sportsmanship to lead the way.

    Reply
  • ronan
    6:36 PM 30/03/2015

    commentators wouldnt happen to be from london would they???

    Reply
  • pbc1620
    5:18 PM 30/03/2015

    As a current player, I have to say this looked somewhat intentional. The try was clearly scored and there was never a doubt about it. Hughes should have been changing direction 2 steps before hand. It looked as if he couldn't avoid contact by the time he actually started attempting to, but he should have been changing speed/direction as soon as the try was scored. It seems very obvious to me that he wanted to rough up the try scorer and make it look accidental. Maybe the type of contact was accidental, but not that he didn't try to adjust speed/angle as soon as he knew the try was scored/going to be scored. Appropriate red card considering the effects of his sloppiness/unnecessary roughness.

    Reply
  • jonnyenglish
    5:13 PM 30/03/2015

    Rugby is a dangerous sport, we all know that. To me, as bad as that looks, that's not a red card on the basis that it looks purely accidental, at full speed what is the player supposed to do? Jump and he could land on North with his studs, which could be worse, or try to stop, which if you look at it in slow motion, he's leaning back, meaning he's trying to stop and not run through him. It's unfortunate for North, had he kept his head down Hughes would have just tripped over him, ultimately a poor decision from what looks to have been a bloody good match. Hopefully the RFU will rescind the Red card, or at least give a very reduced ban. I'm wishing North a speedy recovery though. As much as I hate backs wearing scrum caps, perhaps North should invest in one?

    Reply
  • tphillipsstl
    4:32 PM 30/03/2015

    Also, and more importantly, we've learned from NHL and NFL that these consussions are cummulative, and some people are more susceptible to them than others. I fear George is one of these players and it will probably lead to a early end to his career, if not more long term problems for him outside of rugby.

    Reply
  • tphillipsstl
    4:30 PM 30/03/2015

    it looks to me that he was at first thinking of trying to stick his foot in to stop the grounding, then realized to late to avoid the head. I don't think it was intentional. But it was extremely reckless. And it should carry a hefty ban. For whatever reason, in the leagues i played in here in the US being reckless with the feet when a player is on or near the ground has been very harshly controlled for just this reason. And i think this is very wise. I'm reminded of a similar instance with Paul O'Connell kicking Dave Kearney a couple years ago. These are extraordinarily dangerous plays and should be punished accordingly.

    Reply
  • reality
    4:18 PM 30/03/2015

    Obviously Hughes didn't intend to make contact with his head, but if you manage to kick someone in the head when your foot has no business being near his head, then you should be punished for recklessness. I wouldn't ban Hughes (at least not harshly) but you simply cannot kick players in the head when they score tries and then just say it was an unfortunate, unavoidable accident. I don't know if I'm the only one here that sees it this way, but rather than Hughes doing what he can to slow himself and avoid contact, I see him trying to kick the ball out of North's hands and missing and getting him in the head. Considering that kicking the ball out of someone's hands isn't allowed, there's no justification whatsoever.

    Reply
  • owen
    4:13 PM 30/03/2015

    If he really wanted to avoid contact with North he could have jumped him, rush of blood to the head of Hughes there I think.

    Reply
  • facepalm
    4:04 PM 30/03/2015

    Scrum caps provide absolutely zero protection from concussion.

    Reply
  • i_bleed_green_and_gold
    4:03 PM 30/03/2015

    He had no chance of stopping the try. Could have avoided contact all together. I think it is a case of ... "shucks, you scored, I'm going to run into you to pretend I tried to stop a try, O crap... that was not what I had in mind..." There is usually some after try roughing up but this I think was unintentional outcome... As for North.... I hate to say it but he might not have as long a career as we had all hoped he would have. A great talent but has taken a knock too many I'm afraid... could be the same for Halfpenny. - in some sports, the rule is if there are more than 2 concussions in a year there should be no playing for a year.... If the IRB/world rugby are serious about long term effects then Wales are in trouble for this world cup. I think that they will cave and let these players play and in a few years time will be sued. that is how it went in the NFL and unfortunately with professional sports the game is more important than the future risks.. Time will tell. Wish GN well.

    Reply
  • kenj
    3:57 PM 30/03/2015

    It was clumsy, maybe reckless but not intentional. BUT - Why won't George North wear protective headgear??? He is obviously prone to being knocked out.

    Reply
  • welshosprey
    1:48 PM 30/03/2015

    IRB want to crack down on concussions then ban Hughes for a long time. That was disgusting.

    Reply


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George North knocked out again as Nathan Hughes gets red card for knee | RugbyDump - Rugby News & Videos