England might have disastrously crashed out of the competition early, but Connect still had representation right up until the final group game, as Dr Graeme Wilkes was pitchside at St James’ providing emergency medical assistance to the medical teams from each nation.
“I was invited to be on duty at the three rugby world cup games at St James’ Park as ‘Immediate Care Doctor’, said Graeme. “My role was to support the team doctors on the field if there were any significant injuries that required on-field treatment or removal from play. The invite was a reflection of my previous experience in professional rugby with the Newcastle Falcons, as well as the fact that I am an instructor on the RFU ‘Immediate Care in Sport’ course”.
Fortunately for all involved, there were no serious injuries during any of the games Graeme was on duty for, involving Scotland, Samoa, South Africa, New Zealand and Tonga, however, there was some fantastic rugby and some great experiences.
“I was fortunate enough to be involved close at hand and meet the team medical staff as well as several of the players. I managed to get a photo with All Black lock forward Sam Whitelock – he’s playing tomorrow in the final against Australia and I will be cheering him on! Myself and Sam have a mutual friend in New Zealand and had been instructed to look out for each other, so it was great to meet him.”
The final tomorrow between New Zealand and Australia kicks off at 4pm, with the bronze medal match tonight at 8pm between South Africa and Argentina. Both should be fantastic spectacles and will provide a fitting finale to what has been a thrilling tournament!