The Rugby Site – Pressure on Coaches – By Graham Jenkins
Fritz mistreatment, who is responsible?
*The pressure to deliver and the promise of glory that hovers over the business end of the season more often than not makes for enthralling entertainment. It can inspire players and teams to great heights but conversely the intensity can weigh heavy on others, impeding performance, and the results can be disappointing at the least and at worst alarming.*
Experience, especially that of a coach, is often a calming and stabilising influence on such occasions but not always, as anyone who witnessed a shocking series of events during Toulouse’s Top 14 play-offs clash with Racing Metro, will agree.
Toulouse centre Florian Fritz suffered a horrific head injury during the first half following a clash with the knee of Racing lock Francois van der Merwe. Blood poured from a nasty cut, but of greater concern was the fact that he was clearly concussed, dazed, most likely confused and unable to stand without the support of medical staff. He would later admit that he had been knocked unconscious in the challenge and could not remember everything about the incident. His game was surely over.
Thankfully he was withdrawn, but sense was noticeable by its absence as the window for treatment of blood injuries expired. Toulouse coach Guy Noves, perhaps wary of his decision to load his bench with forwards and with a semi-final place on the line, was seen to enter the treatment room and appeared to urge Fritz to return to the game even though fellow international centre Gael Fickou was among his replacement options.
Fritz rose to his feet and viewers – including a record audience for host broadcasters Canal+ – were left aghast as he made his way back to the field of the play. His club were risking even more dramatic consequences by……
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