World Rugby said via a press statement that Wallabies scrum-half Nic White should have been permanently withdrawn from the match against Ireland earlier this month.
White returned to action despite suffering head knocks in quick succession during the Autumn Nations Series Test on November 19 which Ireland won 13-10 at the Aviva Stadium in Dublin.
The 32-year-old left the field, underwent a head injury assessment (HIA), but returned to the field and finished the game.
An independent investigation concluded that the second impact was not seen.
As a result, it was not reviewed by medical officials while they were performing the HIA but if they had seen it, White would have been permanently withdrawn from the match.
White passed the HIA, which allowed him to play the final 26 minutes, despite being unsteady on his feet while leaving the pitch after blows sustained while tackling Mack Hansen and colliding with Josh van der Flier’s boot.
Ruled out of Australia v Wales Test
The 53-Test veteran was not included in Australia‘s matchday squad for their 39-34 victory against Wales in Cardiff on Saturday as he was subsequently ruled out for 12 days.
World Rugby’s statement said the independent review indicated that it was “defensible for the medical team to remove White for an HIA after the first incident but the second incident resulted in Criteria 1 signs according to the World Rugby HIA process, which should have resulted in White’s permanent removal from the field.
“Both the independent matchday doctor and team doctor were in the process of reviewing video footage for the first incident when the second occurred.
“The second incident was not communicated to either doctor and therefore, in performing White’s HIA did not review any additional footage.
“Having been made aware of the second incident after the game, both doctors reviewed the footage and declared a Criteria 1 diagnosis.
“Discrepancies around process and communication, rather than interpretation of player signs, were therefore the key factors to affect this particular HIA process.”