Phil Vickery and Gavin Henson join lawsuit against rugby’s governing bodies

Colin Newboult
Former England prop Phil Vickery in 2023.

Former England prop Phil Vickery in 2023.

England great Phil Vickery and former Wales star Gavin Henson are among two ex-players who have joined the concussion lawsuit against rugby’s governing bodies.

In total, 295 former players are suing World Rugby, the Rugby Football Union and the Welsh Rugby Union for allegedly failing to put in place reasonable measures to protect the health and safety of players.

Rugby World Cup-winner Steve Thompson has been at the forefront of this landmark case and in a list released by law firm Rylands Garth, he has been joined by fellow former England front-row colleagues Vickery and Mark Regan.

212 names revealed

The names of 212 claimants were revealed on Friday, which includes ex-Wales players Henson, Colin Charvis and Alix Popham, as well as Scotland centurion Sean Lamont.

A case management meeting was held at the Royal Courts of Justice where a judged ruled that the claimants must wait until next year to find out whether their group litigation order – which means individual lawsuits can be managed together – can go ahead.

World Rugby released a statement following the hearing on Friday which read: “Whilst today’s case management hearing was necessarily about legal process, we must not forget about the people and players at the heart of this case.

“Legal action prevents us reaching out to support the players involved, many of whom are named publicly for the first time today. But we want them to know that we care deeply about their struggles, that we are listening and that they are members of the rugby family.

“The court’s ruling for the second time that the claimants’ solicitors must provide information previously asked for is a positive step.

“Player welfare is rugby’s top priority, and will continue to be our top priority. Rugby is committed to leading the welfare agenda in sport, driven by evolving science and research to protect and support players at all levels.”

Illness

The claimants are alleging that the failures of World Rugby, the RFU and the WRU resulted in disorders such as motor neurone disease, early onset dementia and Parkinson’s disease.

Lawyer Susan Rodway, representing them, said the defendants, “ought to have known of the likelihood of long-term neurological complications due to cumulative concussive or sub-concussive blows to the head”.

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