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Page last updated at 18:48 GMT, Thursday, 3 September 2009 19:48 UK

Clubs introduce blood injury code

Tom Williams left the field with fake blood pouring from his mouth against Leinster
Williams had fake blood pouring from his mouth against Leinster

The chairmen of all 12 Premiership clubs have adopted a new voluntary code on blood injuries for the start of the 2009/10 rugby season.

Opposition team doctors can verify each blood injury that occurs during a game.

The agreement follows the 'bloodgate' scandal which saw ex-Harlequins boss Dean Richards banned for three years for orchestrating a fake blood injury.

The new season will also see teams cut to 14 players if they are responsible for going to uncontested scrums.

The regulations will be in place for the first game of the new Guinness Premiership season, which kicks off when Sale play champions Leicester at Edgeley Park on Friday.

The Premiership's bosses hope the measures will go some way to help addressing the widespread criticism following the release of European Rugby Cup's full 'bloodgate' verdict on Harlequins.


Alongside Richards, physiotherapist Steph Brannan was banned for two years while Tom Williams was suspended for four months when the winger used a fake blood capsule to engineer a blood substitution in last season's quarter-final defeat by Leinster.

The move enabled fly-half Nick Evans to return to the match in an ultimately fruitless attempt to kick a winning drop-goal for the Londoners.

"We have moved quickly to put in place measures that will immediately address issues that have arisen over the summer, as well as other areas of potential controversy and risk," said Premier Rugby chairman Peter Tom.

Other measures to be introduced this season are:

- Tighter control over the number of people allowed in technical zones during games, with automatic fines for any breach

- Education and awareness programme on illicit drugs and alcohol use, mandatory for all players and rugby staff

Former Australia and Bath second row Justin Harrison was banned for eight months after admitting to taking illegal drugs.

Three of his former club colleagues - Michael Lipman, Alex Crockett and Andrew Higgins - each received nine-month bans for refusing Bath's requests to take drug tests.

Lipman and Crockett have both appealed their bans, with a hearing set to take place in London on 7 September.

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see also
Harlequins avoid ban from Europe
02 Sep 09 |  Harlequins
Richards hit by damning judgement
02 Sep 09 |  Harlequins
Harlequins chairman stands down
28 Aug 09 |  Harlequins
Cheating not widespread - Worsley
31 Aug 09 |  Harlequins
Quins could face further sanction
27 Aug 09 |  Harlequins
Richards banned for three years
17 Aug 09 |  Harlequins
Quins must move forward - Easter
13 Aug 09 |  Harlequins
Quins sorry for fake injury saga
12 Aug 09 |  Harlequins
Richards resigns Harlequins post
08 Aug 09 |  Harlequins
Quins judgement 'strange' - Moore
21 Jul 09 |  Harlequins
Quins stunned by fake injury fine
20 Jul 09 |  Harlequins
Quins substitution under scrutiny
17 Apr 09 |  Harlequins
Harlequins 5-6 Leinster
12 Apr 09 |  Rugby Union

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