Concussion spell to be trialled in ITM Cup
Players displaying symptoms of concussion will be taken from the field to be assessed for five minutes during this year's ITM Cup and probably the Rugby Championship.
An IRB-sanctioned trial will take place during this year's provincial rugby season, and will follow similar lines to the current blood bin ruling.
For this season if the team doctor, independent match day doctor or referee feels a player is showing symptoms of concussion the player will be taken off the field for five minutes and another player will be able to take their place on the field while they're assessed.
While this trial has been agreed on for the ITM Cup, it looks likely it will also happen in the Rugby Championship, as three of the four countries involved have already said they want to bring the system in and the fourth country has yet to give Sanzar its views on it.
The trial is part of the IRB's commitment to reducing the problems of concussion in the game.
As well as the ITM Cup and Rugby Championship, the French Top 14 and English Premiership are also likely to adopt the new system in their competitions over the next season.
Meanwhile, the NZRU, in collaboration with the IRB and AUT, will embark on a survey looking at the prolonged effects of concussion on rugby players.
The study will involve 200 former professional players, 200 former community rugby players and 200 non-rugby sportspeople, all of whom will be in their 40s or 50s.
The study will examine whether there is a correlation between exposure to rugby and other activity sports and long term health issues.
Results from the study are expected to be announced in November 2013.