Australia to trial blue cards for concussion

Wallaby fly-half Bernard Foley missed the first four rounds of the Super Rugby season after a head knock

Blue cards are set to be issued to players suffering from signs of concussion, the Australian Rugby Union said Thursday in a bid to improve safety during matches.

The system, to be trialled in the ARU's Australian Capital Territory and Newcastle competitions in coming weeks, will require those showing signs of concussion to leave the field for the rest of the game if they are given a blue card.

They would be barred from returning until they complete a minimum stand-down period, which will be 12 days for adults and 19 for under-18s, take part in an exercise programme and are given the all-clear from a doctor.

"The blue card trial is just one of the ARU's many initiatives to improve player welfare and safety in our game," ARU's chief medical officer Warren McDonald said in a statement.

"(It) follows over two years of extensive research on concussion and concussion management from World Rugby down through each nation."

The announcement follows renewed focus on concussion in the sport after Wallaby fly-half Bernard Foley was sidelined by an head knock during a trial match in February that saw him miss the first four rounds of the Super rugby season.

The NSW Waratahs star is due to return against the Melbourne Rebels on Friday.