Ex-players Henson and Charvis in brain injury case

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Ryan Jones of Wales receives treatment during the RBS Six Nations match between Scotland and Wales at Murrayfield Stadium on March 9, 2013 in Edinburgh, Scotland.Image source, Getty Images

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Former Wales player Ryan Jones is among those suing rugby authorities

Almost 300 ex-rugby players suing three of the sport's authorities over brain injuries must wait until next year to hear if they can litigate as a group.

The High Court ruling came on Friday after the athletes' lawyers applied for a group litigation order (GLO).

If granted, it means 295 lawsuits against World Rugby, the Rugby Football Union (RFU) and the Welsh Rugby Union (WRU) can be managed together.

The application may be heard next April or May.

Among those suing are Wales' Grand Slam-winning rugby captain Ryan Jones, former Welsh international Alix Popham and England's rugby World Cup winner Steve Thompson.

The claimants allege the governing bodies failed to put in place reasonable measures to protect their health and safety.

Susan Rodway, representing them, said in court filings the defendants "ought to have known of the likelihood of long-term neurological complications due to cumulative concussive or sub-concussive blows to the head".

This alleged failure is said to have caused disorders such as motor neurone disease, early onset dementia, epilepsy and Parkinson's disease.

Some cases, she added, where players are suing for loss of earnings and the cost of future care, could be valued in tens of millions of pounds.

Image source, Getty Images

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Ex-Wales international Alix Popham is among the 300 players going to court

World Rugby, the RFU and WRU did not address the merits of the lawsuits at Friday's hearing, but are defending the claims.

They said this week they could not comment on the case or contact players as they had not received full details of the claims.

"We would want players involved to know that we listen, we care and continue to champion player welfare as the sport's number one priority," they said.

They said the sport was as safe as possible and led by "the latest science".

The rugby union case is one of three similar cases brought by law firm Rylands Garth, which also represents former rugby league and football players.

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