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Doctor admits cutting Harlequins player to fake blood injury

Dr Wendy Chapman cut the inside of Tom Williams’ cheek to hide a fake blood capsule during the match with Leinster.

Tom Williams (left) was substituted after faking a blood injury in order to facilitate a tactical substitution.
Image: David Davies/PA Archive

THE DOCTOR who treated Harlequins winger Tom Williams for a faked injury in the 2009 Heineken Cup quarter-final with Leinster – dubbed ‘Bloodgate’ – has admitted to cutting the player’s lip in order to pass off a fake blood capsule being a genuine blood injury.

Harlequins had used all five of their permitted substitutions in the tense quarter-final against Leinster, which the Irish side won 6-5 on their way to European glory, when Williams was taken off for a ‘blood substitution‘, appearing to bleed heavily from his mouth.

It later transpired that Williams had faked an injury and been administered a capsule of fake blood by Williams and the team’s physio, Steph Brennan, in order to be taken off the pitch – so that a specialised kicker could come on, with the match in its dying moments and with the hosts without a kicker when lying just a point behind.

Chapman – who had already been banned from having any role in activity within the English Rugby Football Union (RFU) and the European Rugby Council (ERC)’s competitions for four months, on appeal after an initial twelve-month ban – today admitted to a medical inquiry investigating her conduct that she cut William’s lip afterwards, in order to pass off the injury as genuine.

Williams had admitted after the incident came to light that he had twice asked Chapman to cut his lip in the changing room, after match officials and Leinster backroom staff had questioned the validity of his injury.

Chapman, who is already suspended from practice as a result of the hearing, may now face being struck off the medical register entirely if found guilty of misconduct by the General Medical Council.

The incident already left Harlequins’ director of rugby Dean Richards banned from the game for three years, after it emerged that he had ordered similar fake blood capsules to be used on four other occasions. Richards has since resigned.

Brennan was given a two-year suspension from the game.

About the author:

Gavan Reilly

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