Sydney - Australia will extend the use of blue cards issued
to players suffering from signs of concussion to senior competitions after a
successful trial, officials said on Monday.
The system was tried out at country clubs in the Australian
Capital Territory and Newcastle this year, requiring those showing signs of
concussion to leave the field if given a blue card.
They then need to pass a rigorous set of medical guidelines
including time on the sidelines.
The Australian Rugby Union's head of community rugby
services Lachlan Clark said it will be rolled out nationally next year from
juniors up to the National Rugby Championship - the highest tier of
competition below Super Rugby.
"Country rugby clubs have paved the way to make the
game safer for everyone and soon our elite Super Rugby athletes will be
following this protocol and setting the standards worldwide," he said.
"Australian rugby will also assist in educating
coaches, first aid personnel and match officials as well as provide a
competition management system which logs all concussion cases."
A date for its introduction internationally to Super Rugby
is yet to be confirmed, but officials said they were aiming for 2019.
The trial, announced in March, followed renewed focus on
concussion in the sport after Wallaby fly-half Bernard Foley was sidelined by
an head knock during a match in February that saw him miss the first four
rounds of the Super rugby season.