Sun, Aug 23, 2009 - Page 20 News List

Harlequins physio quits RFU over blood scandal

AFP , LONDON

Former Harlequins physiotherapist Steph Brennan has resigned from his role with the Rugby Football Union (RFU) with “immediate effect,” the English governing body announced yesterday.

Brennan was earlier banned for two years by European Rugby Cup (ERC) disciplinary chiefs for his role in the fake blood scandal that led to the resignation of Harlequins’ director of rugby Dean Richards.

Former England No. 8 Richards, banned for three years, and Brennan were punished on Monday following an incident in which Harlequins wing Tom Williams used fake blood during a home European Cup quarter-final against eventual champions Leinster on April 12 to create the appearance of a cut in his mouth in order to allow a substitute onto the field.

Monday’s hearing also revealed that there had been four previous occasions in non-ERC tournaments when Richards and Brennan, banned from European rugby for two years, had fabricated a wound or blood injury.

The International Rugby Board (IRB) subsequently confirmed that Richards and Brennan’s ERC bans would be applied worldwide under rugby union’s disciplinary doctrine of “universality.”

The RFU said: “Steph Brennan has tendered his resignation which the RFU has accepted. Mr Brennan has left the RFU with immediate effect. Mr Brennan wholeheartedly wanted to apologize for any aspects of his behavior that caused concern for the RFU and the physiotherapist profession.”

Richards and club medical staff were all cleared of an initial misconduct charge by a disciplinary panel looking into Williams’ blood injury in a match Irish province Leinster won 6-5 at Quins’ Twickenham Stoop ground.

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