Clip 5 - 19 February 2018 - Law 3

HIA on the knee?

With 14 minutes to play in the match between France and Ireland in Paris, scrumhalf Antoine Dupont comes on as a substitute for Maxime Machenaud, France's starting scrumhalf. Machenaud is not injured. It is a tactical substitution.

Six minutes player, attempts a break from a scrum but Conor Murray of Ireland tackles him. Dupont goes down in pain. The referee stops play for his sake. The medics are quickly on. The referee taps his head, the gesture suggesting a head injury assessment (HIA in rugby's growing vocabulary of acronyms) is necessary. The referee says: "He said it could be an HIA." The medics are intent on dealing with Dupont's knee while the referee is in close attendance.

The two medics help Dupont, clearly with an injured knee, off the field and down the tunnel.

The referee calls to him the match official (called the Fourth Official, who regulates the coming and going of players during a match) in a smart tracksuit with the World Rugby badge and the word REFEREE under it.

The referee asks the Fourth Official if Dupont was going off for an HIA. He wants to know definitely if this is the case and if it is the decision of the match doctor. The French match official tells the referee that it is the decision of the match doctor, who is not a member of the French management but is viewing it on a screen and is in contact with the medics and the Fourth Official.

Why was the referee requiring these guarantees?

If Dupont is going off because of an injured knee, Machenaud is not allowed back.
If Dupont is going off to have an HIA, Machenaud, the tactically replaced player, is allowed back.

Law 3 TEAM
TACTICAL REPLACEMENTS JOINING THE MATCH

Tactically replaced players may return to play only when replacing:
An injured front-row player.
A player with a blood injury.
A player undertaking an HIA.
A player who has just been injured as a result of foul play (as verified by the match officials).
The nominated player described in Law 3.18 or 3.19
. [This deals with front row players.]

In the days when only injuries could replaced, it was not unknown for team doctors to be given signed forms by the official doctor before the match for their use during the match.

When bleeding became an issue, there were cases of the use of fake blood or the deliberate cutting of a player to produce blood to allow a substituted player back onto the field.

And so the Six Nations management examined this case and found that France had not been guilty of dishonest practice. 

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