Rugby-Biggar to complete concussion tests on eve of second test

FILE PHOTO: Rugby Union - International Test - British and Irish Lions v Japan - Murrayfield Stadium, Edinburgh, Scotland, Britain - June 26, 2021 British and Irish Lions' Dan Biggar Action Images via Reuters/Lee Smith

CAPE TOWN (Reuters) - Flyhalf Dan Biggar will complete his concussion protocols on Friday to remain on course to start for the British & Irish Lions in the second test against South Africa at the Cape Town Stadium, the Lions said in a statement.

Biggar, 31, was forced off in the 66th minute of Saturday’s opening test due to a head injury, with England’s Owen Farrell playing out the remainder of the Lions’ 22-17 victory.

Biggar then followed a return-to-play protocol and assessment by an independent concussion consultant but was named in the team on Tuesday when coach Warren Gatland announced his starting XV for the second test on Saturday.

"Dan Biggar will complete his graduated return to play today with his final contact session ahead of the test on Saturday,” the Lions said on Friday.

"He has been symptom free since his post-match head injury assessment and has remained symptom free throughout the process.

"This process has been successfully utilised to allow for independent verification of the medical management undertaken in all concussion cases during the tour in South Africa to date," it added.

Biggar’s selection for Saturday’s second test been criticised by Progressive Rugby, a non-profit lobby group advocating for 'a safer and healthier game'.

"As British and Irish Lions fans, Progressive Rugby want world-class players like Dan Biggar on the pitch against South Africa. However, the immediate and long-term welfare of any player has to come first irrespective of their value to the team or situation. This was the fifth concussion we are aware of that Biggar has suffered in less than two years," Progressive Rugby said.

(Editing by Ed Osmond)

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