27 Aug 2009

England rugby chief pledges cleanup after "bloodgate"

11:12 am on 27 August 2009

English rugby's chief executive Francis Baron has vowed to leave no stone unturned in a bid to re-establish the integrity of the game in England in the aftermath of the 'bloodgate' affair.

But the Rugby Football Union's hopes that the furore over Harlequins' use of fake blood for substitutions would die down have been crushed by the publication of winger Tom Williams' testimony in an appeal against his one-year ban.

Williams claims to have been offered financial inducements by the club to help them cover up the full extent of their cheating in a European Cup match against Leinster in April.

His testimony was instrumental in ensuring Quins director of rugby Dean Richards was banned for three years while former club physio Steph Brennan received a two-year ban.

The RFU is now braced 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.