In the wake of George North's controversial try against England, World Rugby has made an immediate law amendment to stipulate that a match will not be able to restart until a player leaving the field for a blood injury or a head injury assessment has been replaced.

North scored in the 34th minute of Wales's 13-6 victory on Saturday after Dan Biggar took a penalty as England were waiting to replace scrum-half Willi Heinz. Referee Pascal Gauzere, who had just sent England wing Anthony Watson to the sin-bin, allowed Biggar to strike a cross-field kick to Josh Adams while Heinz was making his way down the tunnel to the changing room and Ben Youngs was waiting on the touchline. That left England with just 13 players.

On the following phase, Biggar struck another cross-field kick to North, who collected to score his 40th Test try. Biggar converted and the seven points would eventually prove decisive in securing a win that sent Wales to the top of the world rankings.

Afterwards, England head coach Eddie Jones admitted that he had thought the match would be stopped until Youngs had joined the fray and joked that "maybe the yellow card should have gone to the referee".


In fact, the timing of restart was down to Gauzere's judgment. A statement from World Rugby on Wednesday read: "The amendment, approved by the international federation's executive committee, codifies an area that was previously at the discretion of the referee.

"It has the dual intention of promoting player welfare best practice by enabling a player to be assessed and treated as soon as possible, while also ensuring that teams are not disadvantaged by playing with fewer players than permitted for a short period."

Laws 3.26 and 3.27, which deal with blood replacements and head injury assessments, have been altered accordingly.