Alby Mathewson. Picture: Getty Images.
Alby Mathewson. Picture: Getty Images.

The Australian Rugby Union has backed a decision by SANZAR to trial a pitch-side concussion test during the Rugby Championship.

Following trials in this year's Junior World Championship in South Africa, the PSCA protocols have been adopted for the four-nation competition between Australia, New Zealand, South Africa and Argentina.

Any player who sustains a head injury with signs of concussion will be able to leave the field and be replaced for up to five minutes while an assessment is undertaken.

If a player passes the assessment, they can return to the field but, if a concussion is suspected, the replacement becomes permanent.

Players who cannot return will have more tests to fully diagnose their condition.

Wallabies doctor Warren McDonald says the protocols should ensure a more complete diagnosis for players suffering concussion-like symptoms.

"These protocols, which have been developed by a team of experts, provide a very clear and medically sensible approach to assessing and diagnosing whether players are fit to continue following a head knock," McDonald said.

"The opportunity to assess a player away from the field of play, without the game continuing around them, ensures a thorough evaluation can take place."

Meanwhile, Western Force are in talks with All Blacks scrum-half Alby Mathewson as their marquee player for next season.

New Force coach Michael Foley also hopes to snare NSW Waratahs flanker Chris Alcock from his former club.

Foley will be looking for an experienced livewire player like Mathewson to bring more speed to the Force's game.

Mathewson, 27, who joined the Blues from the Wellington Hurricanes in 2010, has made four appearances for the All Blacks and played more than 80 Super Rugby games.

He was the 2010 Rebel Sport Super 14 Player of the Year.

He played for the Junior All Blacks in the 2009 Pacific Nations Cup campaign and in the 2006 Junior World Cup.

All Black No.9 Piri Weepu has re-signed with the Blues and Mathewson is unsure of his future under new coach John Kirwan.

Another potential scrum-half is Japan's Rugby World Cup first choice Atsushi Hiwasa.

A very clear and medically sensible approach. "Dr Warren McDonald

with Australian Associated Press

The West Australian

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