Harlequins Blood Cheating — Doctor Faces Disciplinary Hearings

Dr Wendy Chapman is unemployed and risks utter disgrace including removal from the register of medical practitioners because a cheating thug — Tom Williams — screamed into her face in a dressing-room full of pumped-up, aggressive Harlequins players.  Wendy Chapman, who was recovering from breast cancer surgery and suffering severe depression, should never have been put in that position by Harlequins management.

The man who orchestrated the cheating, Dean Richards, got a three-year ban from coaching.  The 25-year-old thug who intimidated the a 3-month ban, while Wendy Chapman, who had no part in the plan to cheat Leinster out of the Heineken Cup quarter final, faces ruin.

How and why did such a thing come about?

For those who don’t remember the game, Harlequins needed to get a specialist kicker on the field late in the match, to try and snatch a late victory.  They needed their main kicker, Nick Evans of New Zealand, who had gone off injured earlier, but the only way to get him back was as a replacement for a blood injury.  Tom Williams was the man designated to have that blood injury.

So what happened?

We know that Williams bit into a joke blood capsule, and we know that Professor Arthur Tanner, the Leinster team doctor, instantly spotted that it was a fake.  We know that Williams, the dimwit, was caught on video winking as he left the field.  We know that the match officials, including respected referee Nigel Owens, refused to listen to Tanner’s protests, which deserves an inquiry in itself to establish their motivations.  We know that when Tanner tried to get into the Harlequins dressing room to examine the injury, as he was entitled to do, he was verbally abused and physically prevented from entering.  We know that  Williams demanded that Wendy Chapman cut his lip to produce a real blood injury and that she repeatedly refused to do so until he screamed at her to Cut my fucking lip!!

As it happened, Leinster won the game anyway, but when the cheating was discovered and the General Medical Council inquiry began, Chapman was suspended from the hospital where she worked as an A&E consultant and is now out of work.

I’m inclined to agree with the opinion of Tanner, who appeared at the hearing as a defence witness for Chapman, that she has already paid the price for what happened and should not be subjected to any more pain.  What she did had no effect on the outcome of the match, it didn’t endanger anybody and, while it was unprofessional, was hardly at the most grievous end of the scale of misconduct.  I hope the word of a surgeon as eminent as Tanner will stay the GMC’s hand enough to spare this poor woman any further suffering.

Since the cheat Dean Richards will soon be back in work, and since Tom Williams is over his suspension, maybe the decent thing to do would be to acknowledge that Wendy Chapman (who knew nothing about the conspiracy to cheat) has been put through enough.


Harlequins Cheat Cheating Ban

Harlequins have escaped being booted out of the European Cup this season.

European Rugby Cup (ERC) said today that they approved of the fines and bans already handed out, adding that they saw no reason to interfere with the participation of the club in the 2009/10 European Cup.

It is understood that the club feared it would lose revenues totalling £1.5m sterling if they were banned from playing in Europe.

The ERC will meet (again)) next week to consider the possibility of further punishments against certain individuals at Quins, who qualify for this season’s EC as a result of finishing second in last season’s English Premiership table.

Harlequins’ boss Dean Richards was slapped with a worldwide three year ban for his part in the “bloodgate” scandal which has rocked rugby union.  The scandal began when replacement Tom Williams used a fake blood capsule to allow a blood substitution in last season’s EC quarter final against eventual champions Leinster.

Williams was led from the field with blood streaming from his mouth after biting down on the capsule, a move which allowed drop-goal specialist Nick Evans back onto the field. Williams also allowed the team doctor to cut his lip in the dressing room so the injury would look genuine.

Evans did have one drop goal attempt in the final tense few minutes but dragged his kick badly wide and Leinster deservedly held out to win 6-5.

Quins were fined £260,000 for their part in the scandal, and in a damning indictment, the ERC pointed the finger of blame firmly at Richards, a former  England and Lions international.

The ERC said today: Richards was the directing mind and had central control over everything that happened in relation to the fabrication of the blood injury on the pitch, and the cover-up in the days after the match.

The only aspect of the matter in which the appeal committee determined he did not have direct involvement was the alleged cutting of Williams’s lip by Dr (Wendy) Chapman.

It was Mr Richards who had instigated and directed arrangements which enabled the fabrication of blood injuries as and when that was convenient and would assist the club during matches.

In one of the highest profile matches in which the club had ever been involved, he was prepared to try to cheat Leinster out of a victory by bringing on a player at a crucial stage in the match when that player was not entitled to return to the field of play.

He was quite disinterested in the consideration that by acting the way he did the club which deserved to win the match might be deprived of its victory.

He had long since recruited (physiotherapist Steph) Brennan as his willing lieutenant in such activities, and in identifying Mr Williams as the person who would fake the blood injury he had selected a player who he thought could be suborned into cheating.

His (Richards) was the dominant personality and influence on affairs.

He instigated the cover-up to the extent of requiring Mr Brennan to fabricate statements and then refining the fabrications to ensure that all statements were consistent.

We considered the primary interest of Mr Richards was in preventing his own role in events being discovered.

Meanwhile, the ERC have decided to follow the English Premiership’s example and bring in 23-man squads in an attempt to reduce the number of matches blighted by uncontested scrums.

Clubs’ match day squad must now contain a minimum of three specialist front-row players, two props and a hooker on an eight man bench.  If a team uses up all its front-row players and is forced to to go uncontested scrums, it will have to continue playing with 14 men.