Premiership to trial 'concussion bin'
The Aviva Premiership will trial the use of a so-called 'concussion bin' and extended powers for the television match official (TMO) in the forthcoming season, it has been announced.
Players will be required to leave the field for five minutes to undergo cognitive tests if the team doctor or referee suspects they may have suffered concussion. If that initial suspicion is confirmed in a pitch-side assessment, the concussed player will not be allowed to return and the temporary substitution will be made a permanent one.
The Premiership has also volunteered to trial a greater use of video technology, which extends the TMO's input to more than just the grounding of the ball. In matches broadcast live on television this season, the referee can ask the TMO to rule on any incident in the lead-up to a try being scored, dating back to the last stoppage in play.
The TMO will also have the power to alert the referee on matters of foul play he may have missed. The trials have been developed by the International Rugby Board.
"We volunteered to be involved in both trials," said Phil Winstanley, rugby director at Premiership Rugby.
"The TMO trial in live televised games allows us to maintain the integrity of our competition by ensuring that the match officials are given the utmost support in getting crucial decisions right.
"We are extremely mindful about ensuring that we achieve a balance between protecting the integrity of the game and impacting on the dynamic nature of our sport by creating too many stoppages in play.
"This will be closely managed, with a thorough research programme undertaken by Premiership Rugby and the RFU.
"The pitch-side concussion assessment trial allows medical teams more time and a better environment to assess head injuries and to make player-centred decisions.
"We have a reputation for innovation and this is another example of how both Premiership Rugby and the RFU is the forefront of the game's development."