France surprised at Biggar's RWC return after 2 concussions

OITA, Wales (AP) — France coach Jacques Brunel has expressed his surprise at the presence of Dan Biggar in Wales' lineup for the Rugby World Cup quarterfinal match on Sunday after the flyhalf sustained two concussions during the pool stage.

The Welsh Rugby Union insisted Friday that Biggar has been symptom-free since his accidental collision with teammate Liam Williams in the win over Fiji on Oct. 9 which left Biggar motionless on the ground before he was taken off the field. Earlier in the competition, Biggar had to leave the field after a head injury against Australia.

"In the French championship, two concussions is three weeks out," Brunel said, adding that if the Rugby World Cup followed the rules of France's Top 14 league, Biggar "could not play."

Brunel's Welsh counterpart, Warren Gatland, said Biggar has gone through all the return-to-play protocols and that Wales has taken "all the proper precautions."

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"We made sure in terms of consulting the right people and making sure they were aware of everything, getting him scanned, (the) independent consultant — that was important," Gatland said at a news conference held a few hours before Brunel spoke.

"We feel we've gone through that due diligence and made sure we've covered all the bases. He's done all the protocols and been fit for three or four days in terms of having passed those."

Wales has previous history about a player coming back too early from concussion, something to which Gatland made reference on Friday.

George North, who plays on the wing for Wales, had five months out in 2015 after being told to rest by doctors following four concussions in four months in the 2014-15 season. A friend of North said the player's speech was affected.

Rugby has tightened its rules in recent years regarding the recognition and treatment of concussions.

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