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Craig Dowd
Craig Dowd | Columnist Index
Craig Dowd played 60 Tests for New Zealand between 1993 and 2000, including in two World Cups, and he was part of the All Blacks team that won their first series in South Africa in 1996. He played for the Blues and Auckland in New Zealand domestic rugby, and for Wasps in England from 2001 to 2005. In 2009, he coached North Harbour in the ITM Cup. More recently has been a SKY Television comments man.
Craig Dowd
Brodie Retallick must be handled with care
Craig Dowd
April 15, 2014
New Zealand's Brodie Retallick during an All Blacks training session, Latymers Upper School, London, November 14, 2013
Brodie Retallick is vital to both the Chiefs and the All Blacks © Getty Images
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Concussion has been a big issue in all contact sports around the world this year so it shouldn't surprise that I urge authorities to be very careful with Chiefs lock Brodie Retallick.

Retallick is just too important for New Zealand and the head knock he suffered against the Cheetahs comes after he suffered another blow when clashing heads with Ben Afeaki in the first game of the season.

Coaches, and the people in behind him, have got to be careful because saying things like, 'He looks ok', is dangerous. Of course, he is going to look ok but we can't see inside the brain and he is too important to New Zealand rugby to jeopardise his career. If there is any risk at all he needs to be sidelined.

He should be rested not only until he gets the all clear, but he should be given an extra week rather than rushing him back too early. It is his second head knock and if he was to get another one down the track then this would become very serious. Three concussions in one year is grounds for a career-ending injury.

If I was All Blacks coach Steve Hansen I would be advising the Chiefs to hold back on starting him. My concern comes from outside the camp and there are people far more qualified than me to make that call on Retallick, but I hope they make the right one.

Talking about the medical side of the game, I think Blues scrum-half Piri Weepu has been very brave. He's been a real character in dealing with his stroke and subsequent operation. And now he's good to go. He's a fighter and a warrior, good on him.

I think what he does in the Blues environment with his character and his commitment to rolling his sleeves up and going back to work is great. I admire that and I like the way the management are talking about him too.

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