'Bloodgate' inquiry to implicate England?
August 28, 2009
Harlequins' 'Bloodgate' enquiry has led to reports of cheating at international level © Getty Images
Harlequins' internal review in to the 'Bloodgate' scandal has revealed widespread cheating in rugby that has extended to England and other Six Nations teams, according to reports in The Sunday Telegraph.
Malcolm Wall, who on Friday succeeded Charles Jillings as the Quins chairman on an interim basis, reportedly heard the allegations during the review, including descriptions of players being cut to deceive officials.
Jillings was the latest casualty of the scandal, in which director of rugby Dean Richards was banned for three years after he ordered wing Tom Williams to fake a blood injury during last season's Heineken Cup quarter-final loss to Leinster at the Twickenham Stoop. Williams has been banned for four months and the club fined £260,000.
"According to our investigations it [cheating] is fairly widespread. I have wrestled with myself as to whether fifty percent of Premiership clubs are involved or twenty percent, and I simply don't know," the Telegraph source said. "What I do know is that some of the practices are occurring within international teams. Those teams are involved in the Six Nations and England have in the past been one of them."
With the RFU having announced a new task force to safeguard the values of the game on Friday, these allegations could have serious ramifications if fully investigated. Wall's inquiry also heard reports of players being cut behind the ear before games and stitched should a blood injury be required and his findings have now been handed to the RFU's chief disciplinary officer Judge Jeff Blackett.
"If the allegations lead to the national side then we will look at it, but I would be surprised if we found anything serious," a source close to the RFU task force told the newspaper.