1 Dec 2023

Duty-of-care case against World Rugby starts tomorrow

From Nine To Noon, 9:05 am on 1 December 2023

A major case brought by 268 former players against World Rugby and other authorities is to start tomorrow at the London High Court.

The players - including former New Zealand great Carl Hayman - say they were exposed to head injuries that led to disorders such as motor neuron disease and early onset dementia among others. 

The case is led by law firm Rylands Garth, which says rugby authorities failed in their duty of care by exposing players to these injuries.

The law firm is seeking a group litigation order for claims against World Rugby, England-based Rugby Football Union and the Welsh Rugby Union. 

This type of litigation is often used for industrial disease claims such as respiratory problems for coal miners. 

World Rugby says it has taken steps to manage the impacts of concussion, by introducing smart mouthguard technology for better information about the impacts on players' heads, as well as trialing lower tackle heights in community rugby.

Alix Popham is a former Welsh rugby international and he was diagnosed with early onset dementia in 2019. Richard Boardman is the lawyer representing the players. 

Former Wales rugby player Alix Popham.

Alix Popham played for the Welsh national rugby team between 2003 and 2008.    Photo: Fotosport