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06th Dec 2014

Harlequins Bloodgate shame against Leinster: Where are they now?

One of the players involved switched sides in 2009

Patrick McCarry

A decision by the Harlequins brain trust to fake a blood injury in order to get their star out-half back on the pitch, in a 2009 Heineken Cup quarter final against Leinster, was declared ‘a naked act of cheating’

Quins lost all sense of reason in their desperate attempts to eliminate Michael Cheika’s side at The Stoop. They trailed 6-0 when former All Blacks No.10 Evans was withdrawn with an injury. Mike Brown got his team back in the tie with a well-taken try but the hosts still trailed by a point with six minutes to spare.

Quins Director of Rugby Dean Richards decided he would get Nick Evans back on the pitch for the closing stages. Quins physio Steph Warren was handed a blood capsule and passed it on to substitute Tom Williams during a break in play. After taking contact for the first time since the capsule transfer, Williams called for attention and bit down on the capsule. He was caught on camera winking as he left the field but later insisted he was assuring teammate Jim Evans he was okay after being told to ‘toughen up’.

Nick Evans was sent back on as a blood sub but missed a late drop goal attempt as Leinster held on for the win. Suspicious of the circumstances of Evans reintroduction, Leinster lodged a complaint and television cameras backed up their claims of cheating. Harlequins compounded the matter when team doctor Wendy Chapman cut Williams’ lip to simulate the initial injury.

Asked post-match by Sky Sports if his conscience was clear, Richards replied, ‘Yes.’ Three-months later and the club was found to be guilty and the Quins hit the fan.

Where are they now?

Tom Williams: His 12-month ban was reduced to four and he featured for Quins that October, against Connacht, in the Challenge Cup. He is contracted with the club up to summer 2015 but has not played for the senior team this season.

Nick Evans: Blameless party in the sorry affair. The incident occurred in his first season after arriving from Auckland Blues. Kicked the winning conversion in 2011 Challenge Cup final. Ahead of Heineken Cup clash with Munster in 2013, Evans told The Telegraph, ‘People were questioning why I play rugby and my part in it – they were questioning my integrity and I took quite a big offence at that.’

Dean Richards: Railed against allegations of impropriety at the start but eventually held his hands up and was banned from coaching for three years. Returned in 2012 as Newcastle Falcons’ director of rugby and helped them to promotion to the Premiership.

Harlequins v Leinster - Heineken Cup Quarter Final

Steph Brennan: Was initially struck off from the Health Professions Council but successfully had the decision overturned in 2011. The scandal cost him a job he was due to take up with England as the national team physio. Has been with Sydney Roosters (rugby league) in Australia since November 2012.

Mike Ross: The Quins tight-head moved to Leinster in 2009 and has become vital for the Blues and Ireland since his return. Ross was on the pitch, far away from the backline shenanigans, and later spoke about the incident to The Irish Examiner. He commented, ‘They tried to change the course of a game and you should be punished and rightly so, but you can argue about the severity of the punishments they’ve inflicted on various people.’

Mike Ross 20/11/2014

Dr Wendy Chapman: Warned about her unprofessional conduct by the General Medical Council, in 2010, but was allowed to continue her practice.

Charles Jillings: The Harlequins chairman resigned in August 2009 and accused Williams of demanding a four-year contract and signing on lump sum for pressuring him into following Richards’ orders.

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