Friend content all concussion protocol followed in Connacht's win over Benetton

Replacement hooker Dylan Tierney-Martin was not required to leave the field after being on the receiving end of a massive head-on-head challenge during their bonus point win over Benetton.
Friend content all concussion protocol followed in Connacht's win over Benetton

Dylan Tierney-Martin of Connacht. Pic: Ben McShane/Sportsfile

Connacht 38 Benetton 19 

Connacht director of rugby Andy Friend said he is content all procedures were followed correctly in the Sportsground on Saturday.

Replacement hooker Dylan Tierney-Martin was not required to leave the field after being on the receiving end of a massive head-on-head challenge during their bonus point win over Benetton.

The 23-year-old was assessed on the field and allowed to continue to play, going on to score their fifth try in an impressive and badly needed URC win.

But it is the latest incident in the ongoing discussion about concussion and player safety, with the perpetrator of the challenge, former New Zealand U-20 lock Scott Scrafton, already on his through the tunnel dripping in blood to be assessed when referee Marius van der Westhuizen dished out a red card to him.

Friend said he is satisfied Tierney-Martin was assessed properly on the pitch and that the medical team would always err on the side of caution in such cases.

“That was assessed. We hear the comms (communications) on all of that. He was assessed by the matchday doctor and it wasn't deemed sufficient enough for him to come off.

“From my visual there was no staggering of him or stumbling or any other visual signs. When that's all checked he is also getting checked out too. They make their calls as professionals and we have to back them.

“If we saw something as a group of coaches we could definitely do something about that but I can promise you our medical staff would be the most diligent on that, out of all of them.

“There are constantly messages coming through, ‘check that tackle, check that …,’ so they have a hawkeye they are always checking and I know in the past if there is any doubt that player comes off. I’m comfortable with that.” The dismissal after 66 minutes, the second suffered by Benetton in a week, didn’t have a huge bearing on the outcome of a match where Connacht were on top for long periods, but they wrapped up the bonus point within minutes of the red card to claim their fourth win of the campaign.

Connacht went in leading 17-7 at the break with lock Niall Murray giving them a perfect start when he sprinted home from halfway after four minutes.

Former Wasps out-half Jacob Umaga was excellent on his debut and it was another signing from Wasps, winger Marcus Watson, who got the levelling try after 18 minutes.

Connacht hit back with a converted try from Boyle and led 17-7 at the break before grabbing their third four minutes after the restart from loosehead Finlay Bealham.

But Benetton hit back and incessant pressure inside the home 22 eventually yielded a converted try for centre Manuel Zanon to cut the gap to 24-14 after 54 minutes.

A nervous finish was avoided when replacement scrum-half Caolin Blade sniped in under the posts for bonus point after the dismissal before the impressive 20-year old Benetton centre Tommaso Menoncello and man-of-the-match PaulBoyle exchanged late tries at the end of an entertaining match in front of a crowd of 4,172.

Scorers: Connacht: Tries: N Murray, P Boyle, F Bealham, C Blade, D Tierney-Martin. Cons: J Carty (5). Pen: Carty.

Benetton: Tries: M Watson, M Zanon, T Menomcello. Cons: J Umaga (2).

Connacht: J Porch; D Kilgallen (T O'Halloran 63), T Farrell (T Daly 60), B Aki, M Hansen; J Carty, K Marmion (C Blade 60); D Buckley (P Dooley 52), D Heffernan (D Tierney-Martin 52), F Bealham (J Aungier 52); O Dowling, N Murray (G Thornbury 55); C Prendergast, C Oliver (J Butler 63), P Boyle.

Benetton: R Smith (I Mendy 19); E Padovani, T Menoncello, M Zanon (J Riera 65), M Watson; J Umaga, D Duvenage (A Garbisi 63); I Nemer (T Gallo 40), G Nicotera (L Frangini 73), F Alongi (N Tetaz Chaparro 32); N Cannone (M Lassaroni 73), S Scrafton; M Zuliani, M Lamaro, G Pettinelli (A Izekor 73).

Referee: M van der Westhuizen (South Africa)

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