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Page last updated at 15:07 GMT, Thursday, 27 August 2009 16:07 UK

Quins squad backs banned Williams


Quins 'blood' scandal not uncommon - Skinner

Harlequins captain Will Skinner has said wing Tom Williams has the total support of his team-mates despite his central role in the 'Bloodgate' affair.

Williams was banned for 12 months, reduced to four on appeal, for faking a blood injury in a Heineken Cup game.

Skinner said: "We're really sympathetic to the position he is in. We are united and togetherness is second to none.

"He is training with the squad and Tom, like all of us, is just hoping we can move on and become stronger from this."

Williams has claimed he was offered a new four-year contract and other benefits by club officials if he kept quiet about the involvement of others in the incident, which took place during the quarter-final against Leinster at The Stoop on 12 April.

During the game, director of rugby Dean Richards ordered Williams to feign injury by chewing a fake blood capsule to allow fly-half and goal-kicker Nick Evans to return to the field.


Williams later had his lip cut in an attempt to make the injury appear genuine, but following an investigation by the European Rugby Cup (ERC), who oversee the Heineken Cup, the 26-year-old admitted what had happened.

Richards, a former England international, resigned and was suspended from worldwide rugby for three years. Quins themselves were fined £259,000 and physiotherapist Steph Brennan was also handed a two-year ban.

Skinner said he had heard rumours that feigning blood injury was common in the game.

He said: "I know these things go on throughout the whole game. I knew it was going to come out eventually and we have taken the brunt of it.

"We just want to move forward now and the way we do that is by playing good rugby. We have to give all we can to get the club's reputation back."

It's a bit rich when people's perception emanates from that one incident.

John Kingston

He insisted that the departure of Richards had only affected the players "slightly" and added: "Because of the structure he had in place under him, the likes of (head coach) John Kingston, (assistant coach) Colin Osbourne and (academy manager) Tony Diprose, his role has been covered by them brilliantly."

Kingston, who is head of team affairs until a successor to Richards is found, was bullish in response to continued questions over Quins' presence in this season's Heineken Cup.

He said: "We've qualified for the Heineken Cup and are playing in it. Last season we showed ourselves to be highly competitive in the Heineken Cup, losing by a point to the winners.

"We flew the flag for England. I think it's sad that a few months later, after just one incident, people are not even countenancing how well the team performed last season. I think it's a bit rich frankly when people's perception emanates from that one incident.

"What we have to do now is concentrate on getting back to playing rugby. It's for other people to comment if we've been victimised but I'm certainly disappointed about the nature of the publicity that has come about."

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see also
Quins could face further sanction
27 Aug 09 |  Harlequins
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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