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Smart mouthguards not popular in Super Rugby

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In the first round of the Super Rugby Pacific games, a new rule requiring players to wear smart mouthguards has sparked a debate. Chiefs coach Clayton McMillan and Crusaders captain Scott Barrett have both voiced their concerns about this technology, which alerts doctors on the sidelines when a player suffers a significant impact.

During the Chiefs’ narrow victory over the Crusaders, with a final score of 33-29, the smart mouthguards came into play when Chiefs’ Anton Lienert-Brown had to leave the field for a head injury assessment, despite feeling he was okay to continue. Coach McMillan expressed his frustration, stating that this technology interfered with his ability to make strategic decisions during the crucial moments of the game.

Similarly, Barrett shared his dissatisfaction after his teammate Quinten Strange was removed from the game, highlighting the confusion and frustration experienced by players who are taken off without clear understanding of why. He emphasized the importance of player welfare but suggested that the technology might be too intrusive and could unfairly influence the outcome of the game.

On the other hand, Crusaders coach Rob Penney took a more balanced view, acknowledging the global trend towards increased safety measures in sports. He recognized the importance of player welfare and suggested that teams would need to adapt to the new technology, despite the challenges it may present.

This new rule and the technology behind it are part of World Rugby’s efforts to improve player safety by detecting potential head injuries more effectively. However, the feedback from players and coaches in the Super Rugby Pacific highlights the need for a balance between safety and the natural flow of the game.

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