England’s international team face a probe by Rugby Football Union (RFU) amid claims that faking blood injuries to gain tactical advantage has seeped into the international game, the Sunday Telegraph reported.
Francis Baron, RFU the chief executive of the Rugby Football Union (RFU), has already vowed to reestablish the integrity of the game in England in the aftermath of the ‘bloodgate’ affair at Harlequins following the faked blood substitution of wing Tom Williams.
The Williams affair has opened a can of worms after he alleged the club offered him financial inducements to mask the full extent of their cheating, effectively dragging Quins chief executive, Mark Evans, and former chairman, Charles Jillings, into the scandal.
Williams went off with what appeared to be blood streaming from his mouth during a European Cup match against Leinster in April and the ensuing investigation revealed he had bitten into a capsule containing red dye. The player’s subsequent testimony led to bans for himself, Quins Director of Rugby Dean Richards and former club physio Steph Brennan.
However, although the RFU has for now ruled out further action against Quins, the body is preparing to investigate the England team amid allegations of systematic cheating in the international game.
Former England lock and ex-Harlequins star Paul Ackford wrote in the Sunday Telegraph that the “Bloodgate” investigation into the Williams’ case, conducted by businessman Malcolm Wall, has been presented with evidence of much more widespread cheating, including at international level.
According to the report, a source close to the investigation says Wall, now Quins’ interim chairman, has heard evidence of cheating and sophisticated abuse of the rules, including the deliberate cutting of players.
The source says the alleged corrupt practices exist in the English top flight and the Six Nations.
“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 Sunday Telegraph quoted the unnamed source as saying.
“What I do know is that some of the practices are occurring within international teams,” the source added.
“Those teams are involved in the Six Nations and England have in the past been one of them.”
One alleged technique is of cutting players behind the ear, then stitching the wound before reopening it to allow a blood replacement to come on.
Ackford wrote that he believes “Bloodgate” may be “only the tip of the iceberg.”
The RFU is already bracing itself for further damaging revelations when other evidence from the appeals process is published next week and the governing body has admitted it could be forced to re-open its investigation.
The scandal could not have erupted at a worse time for rugby with the sport having recently been beset by a series of image-shredding problems, including eye-gouging incidents involving Sergio Parisse and Schalk Burger and the suspension of five Bath players for refusing to take drugs tests following allegations of cocaine use at an end-of-season party.
Article Courtesy of Rugby 365Tweet