Wed 20 Jun 2018 | 10:43

VIDEO: Did the All Blacks drop the ball on Fifita?

Vaea Fifita Second Test Concussion
Wed 20 Jun 2018 | 10:43
VIDEO: Did the All Blacks drop the ball on Fifita?
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The New Zealand team management is, by all accounts, one of the most professional outfits in the world – if not the best.

However, sometimes even they get it wrong.

It was almost incidental earlier this week when they mentioned that utility forward Vaea Fifita has joined star flyhalf Beauden Barrett on the sidelines – both as a result of having suffered concussion in the win over France last Saturday.

Barrett’s absence was not unexpected, after he failed a head injury assessment (HIA) during the 26-13 second Test victory in Wellington – when he landed heavily, while attempting to catch a high kick.

France fullback Benjamin Fall was shown a red card for the 12th-minute incident, when he collided with an airborne Barrett.

He was, subsequently cleared and the red card rescinded – after a World Rugby hearing found that Australian referee Angus Gardener had got it wrong.

However, the Fifita concussion has a strange twist to it.

Fifita took a heavy blow to the head, when attempting a tackle. He looks to be seriously concussed, but wasn’t taken for an HIA.

After he collided with the hip of an opponent, he immediately walks forward and then kneeled to the ground in an offside position.

In the next two minutes, he was clearly dazed and disorientated, attempting to get back into the defensive line.

He took more contact to the head in a tackle, which he struggled to execute properly, was pushed over by a French player. He attempted a handful of tackles, with a lack of technique, looking very dizzy.

He was not called for an HIA and played the rest of the match, despite showing clear signs of a concussion – especially from the first knock.

Since he was omitted from the third Test, it was revealed he told team doctors the next day ‘he didn’t feel very well’.

The All Blacks later stated publicly he is suffering from concussion symptoms.

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Video: Did The All Blacks Drop The Ball On Fifita? - France | Rugby365