English Rugby
Brennan cleared to return to work
ESPNscrum Staff
May 19, 2011
Harlequins wing Tom Williams is escorted from the field by physio Steph Brennan, Harlequins v Leinster, Heineken Cup, Twickenham Stoop, April 12, 2009
Former Quins physio Steph Brennan escorts winger Tom Williams from the field during the infamous Heineken Cup clash with Leinster in 2009 © Getty Images

Former Harlequins physio Steph Brennan has been cleared to return to work after winning an appeal against being struck off.

Brennan, who helped fabricate the blood injury to winger Tom Williams during Harlequins' Heineken Cup quarter-final defeat to Leinster in April 2009, had been due to start work with the Rugby Football Union (RFU) as an England physio until his role in the systematic use of fake-blood capsules during matches was exposed.

He admitted five instances of faking blood injuries, the first of which happened during Harlequins' 2005-06 season. On three occasions this was for player welfare, while Brennan said the fourth was to get an unnamed player in a key position on to the pitch following the sin-binning of a team-mate.

In September 2010 he was struck off for his part in the ordeal, but in January won a High Court victory as the Health Professions Council (HPC) conduct and competence committee was told to reconsider the case. On Thursday, the panel replaced the decision to strike Brennan off with a formal caution.

"The panel is prepared to accept his assurance that he had learned his lesson and would not allow himself to drawn into conduct of this kind again," panel chairman Raymond Pattison said.

"While the dishonesty was serious it was driven by a team culture which Mr Brennan might fairly be regarded as not having instigated. 'Mr Brennan has now expressed genuine remorse for his actions. This is in contrast to the position as determined by the panel at the last hearing.

"His professional and private life have been adversely affected by the publicity which the high profile nature of his misconduct has attracted. The panel is satisfied that Mr Brennan is well on the way to resolving his problems. For the reasons previously given, the panel is satisfied that the likelihood of repetition is very low.

"In all these circumstances, the panel is satisfied that is nothing which would be usefully served by imposing a suspension order in the light of all that it has heard about the transformation in Mr Brennan's response to the difficulties in which he found himself."

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