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Page last updated at 16:27 GMT, Wednesday, 30 September 2009 17:27 UK

Cheating not widespread, says RFU

Dean Richards
Ex-Quins boss Dean Richards was banned over a fake-blood scandal

A Rugby Football Union task group set up in response to recent scandals has found no evidence of widespread cheating in the English game.

Rugby union's image has been hit by several recent incidents, including Harlequins' fake blood injury and drug-related issues at Bath.

The panel found no evidence to support "the speculation that the England team has fabricated blood injuries".

It also recommended looking at trialling rolling substitutions.

Rugby league employs a rolling substitution system, and the idea is likely to be one of the more controversial aspects of the report.

"There are two sides to every argument," RFU director of elite rugby Rob Andrew told BBC Radio 5 live.


"Some would argue we should go back to 15-a-side with no replacements and play until it's last-man standing.

"We have to be sensible and look at where the game is moving. There are issues around player welfare.

"We've already gone to eight substitutions so we've got 23 players taking part in every game. It's something the game needs to address."

The task group, which was established at the end of August, made 16 recommendations in all. Other suggestions included agreeing a definition of cheating and creating a specific regulation to issue severe sanctions against those found guilty of it.

The report also called upon the game to develop a policy on illicit drug use, improve disciplinary processes and ensure that medical personnel working in the sport are guided first and foremost by their professional ethics rather than their tie to a club.

We know in sport there's no room for complacency

Former England captain and task force member Lawrence Dallaglio

"You talk to people involved in the game and they do not want to be tarnished with this kind of thing associated with our sport," added Andrew.

"They want the RFU to move forward, draw a line in the sand and ensure the core values of the sport - which have been there for a long time - are maintained."

The report took evidence from 129 professional players, and also surveyed coaches, medics and physios in the pro game and grassroots rugby.

"In looking at things like the feigning of injuries and the blood issues, what the task force has uncovered - and this has been done with a lot of help from people right across the game - is a number of issues," former England captain Lawrence Dallaglio, who was part of the task force, told BBC Radio 5 live.

"We know in sport there's no room for complacency. We've come forward with some recommendations and now our job is to take those recommendations forward."

The RFU wants to get the co-operation of other countries and global governing body, the International Rugby Board, in order to extend its ideas worldwide.

"The IRB has been supportive of what we've been doing," said Andrew.

No endemic cheating - Dallaglio

"They've been aware that some of these issues are global issues - the incidents of the summer happened on our patch but the IRB is not naïve enough to think that there aren't practices going on in other parts of the globe.

"We as a union need to make recommendations to the IRB and then its up to the IRB council to decide if they want to implement some of these recommendations."

The panel also included Bath prop and players' union chairman David Barnes, Worcester owner Cecil Duckworth and chairman of London Irish Andrew Coppel.

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see also
Dallaglio named in RFU task force
28 Aug 09 |  English
Physio Brennan quits England post
22 Aug 09 |  Harlequins
Richards ban to extend worldwide
18 Aug 09 |  Harlequins
I ordered blood scam - Richards
19 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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