English Rugby
Williams reflects on Bloodgate 'misery'
ESPNscrum Staff
December 21, 2011
Bloodgate begins ... Harlequins wing Tom Williams walks from the field, Harlequins v Leinster, Heineken Cup quarter-final, Twickenham Stoop, April 12, 2009
Quins' Tom Williams leaves the field having used a fake blood capsule to fool the officials © Getty Images

Harlequins winger Tom Williams has revealed that the guilt he felt following the infamous 'Bloodgate' scandal almost forced him to quit the game.

Williams was at the centre of the drama that unfolded during Quins' Heineken Cup quarter-final clash with Leinster at The Stoop in April 2009. He was guilty of biting into a blood capsule to fake and injury that would allow fly-half Nick Evans return to the field and although his crime was not spotted by officials at the time he was later suspended for 12 months - a sanction that was reduced to four months on appeal.

The inquiry into the incident revealed that Williams had been acting under the instruction of Quins' director of rugby Dean Richards, who was handed a three-year global ban for his role in proceedings, and the stress caused from the ugly saga pushed the player to the limit.

"It had a massive effect on me. I suffered from stress and lost a huge amount of confidence. In the depths of it all I was miserable, very miserable," he told the Daily Telegraph. "I was completely disillusioned and seriously thought about giving up. It was such a shock. I see myself as a nice enough guy who genuinely would not want to hurt anyone. It was not a good time."

Williams, now 28, was talking following his side's stunning Heineken Cup victory over Toulouse last weekend - his first taste of Europe's top club competition since that day. "It's been a low, low time since then. It was such an error to have made, to have gone along with it, to have done it in the first place. It had such an impact on so many people and the club as well," he said. "The worry and stress were horrible, the sheer weight of knowing that other people were so affected by that one action. It's the impact on them that I care about the most.

"It was all pretty horrible. It will stay with me long after I've finished playing rugby. Hopefully a lot of lessons have been learnt by a lot of people, no one more than myself. It will never go away, of course not, but I'm just glad it's over and that Sunday may have been the start of something else."

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