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Former rugby union players set to sue authorities over head injuries

A case involving several former rugby union players diagnosed with early onset dementia and other irreversible neurological conditions now appears destined for the courts.

Rylands Law, acting on behalf of a group of players including England’s 2003 World Cup-winning hooker Steve Thompson and former Wales captain Ryan Jones, are to take action against World Rugby, England’s Rugby Football Union and the Welsh Rugby Union.

Britain’s Press Association reported proceedings would be issued on Monday, with the parties unable to agree a settlement since a pre-action letter of claim was issued to the same governing bodies on behalf of a group of nine players in December 2020.

The basis of the action is an alleged failure by rugby authorities to protect players from concussion risks.

Jones, capped 75 times by Wales and a member of the 2005 British and Irish Lions squad in New Zealand, revealed his diagnosis of early onset dementia in an interview with the Sunday Times last week.  

“I feel like my world is falling apart,” the 41-year-old, who said he was “really scared”, told the newspaper. “I don’t know what the future holds.”

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