Judgment reserved in rugby scrum claim


JUDGMENT was reserved yesterday in the £1 million High Court damages action brought by a young English rugby player left paralysed after a scrum collapsed.

Mr Ben Smoldon (21), of Sutton Coldfield, West Midlands, has been confined to a wheelchair since the accident during an under 19 Colts game between Sutton and Burton on Treat in October 1991.

He claims that the match referee, Mr Michael Nolan, together with the Burton tight head prop, Mr Thomas Whitworth, were liable for his injuries.

Mr Justice Curtis said he would not give his ruling before April 16th.

Mr Smoldon alleged that Mr Nolan, who was backed by the English Rugby Football Union, did not keep proper control of the game.

He also claims that Mr Whitworth (22) of Stoke on Trent, collapsed the rum by moving back out of position.

Both of them deny any blame for the young player's injuries.

The case is believed to be the first time in England that a referee has been sued in such a situation and has wide implications for sport in general.