Friday’s rugby news has James Slipper taking responsibility, McKenzie defending his team, Barrett ahead at 10 and new concussion guidelines for the RFU.
Players take responsibility
Wallabies vice-captain James Slipper has backed his coach and said that the players must feel responsible for much of the pressure heaped on Ewen McKenzie through recent poor performances. “Results put any coach under pressure … but the players have the utmost respect for Link (McKenzie),” he said.
Slipper has also previously emphasised that the support of Michael Hooper and Adam Ashley-Cooper for their team-mate should not be confused with condoning Beale’s actions. [/one_half]
Link defiant on team unity
In the face of constant speculation on the support of the Wallaby players, Ewen McKenzie has highlighted that it is ultimately inconsequential if all members of the squad were united behind him.
“Is it a popularity contest?” Link asked, before adding, “It can’t be, because the only people who’ll like you are the 15 that are picked in the team.” McKenzie once again defended the role of Patston in the team structure and said that his main concern was retaining the respect of the players through consistent and honest dealings. [/one_half]
Barrett confirmed at 10
All Blacks coach Steve Hansen has confirmed that Beauden Barrett is now the team’s first-choice five-eighth after three starts replacing Aaron Cruden and Dan Carter. Barrett was given his shot during the Rugby Championship with Dan Carter injured and Cruden dropped for an ill-advised drinking session.
Cruden may be given some game time on the upcoming tour of the US and Europe but at the moment he has even been left off the bench due to his inability to cover multiple positions.
England’s new concussion protocols
The RFU have changed the way concussion injuries are managed throughout the country, introducing impressive new safety requirements. Players will have to pass a tougher test with the assessment period increased to 10 minutes. English stadiums will also now have independent medical practitioners tasked with reviewing injuries and may be assisted by replays.
As for the clubs, the RFU is requiring the completion of concussion modules under the threat of fines or player/coach suspensions. [/one_half]