I made ‘bloodgate’ doctor a victim, claims Quins’ Williams

HARLEQUINS winger Tom Williams said yesterday he made the matchday doctor at the centre of the ‘Bloodgate’ fake injury scandal “a victim” when he persuaded her to cut his lip.

Williams said club medic Wendy Chapman was unaware he had bit into a fake-blood capsule on the field of play during a crucial Heineken Cup quarter-final tie in April 2009.

His so-called blood-related injury meant a specialist goal kicker could come on in the dying minutes of a Heineken Cup game against Leinster, who eventually held on to win 6-5.

Dr Chapman admitted yesterday for the first time that she later cut the player’s lip with a stitch cutter in the changing rooms after previously not mentioning the incident at a disciplinary committee of the European Rugby Cup (ERC).

She admitted the majority of charges against her from the General Medical Council which says her conduct on the matchday and at the subsequent ERC hearing was likely to bring the profession into disrepute.

Her counsel Mary O’Rourke told the fitness to practice hearing Williams was “panicky and agitated” because he knew he had done something wrong and Leinster had “rumbled him” and match officials were making inquiries.

Williams agreed his departure from the pitch was “not convincing”, he had “over-exaggerated” and winked as he came off, which was picked up by Sky Sports TV cameras.

Ms O’Rourke suggested he “begged or beseeched” the doctor to cut him to cover up the fake injury.

“I think I was very panicky,” he replied. “I asked her at least twice. I may have said, ‘You have got to cut my lip’. It was more of a very panicky and concerned reaction.”

Ms O’Rourke continued: “She was in fact made a victim by your actions because you brought her into it, or you dragged her into it?”

“As a result of the situation, yes,” Williams replied.

Opening the case for the GMC, Michael Hayton said the Heineken Cup tie at the Twickenham Stoop on April 12 last year was of “enormous importance” in terms of prestige and the economic benefits of €300,000 to the tournament winner.

Sub Williams came on but then left the field with five minutes remaining of the game with blood apparently coming from his mouth so that New Zealander Nick Evans could return.

Happily for all parties, said Mr Hayton, Evans missed a late goal kick, but “sadly for all parties of the game of rugby union, Tom Williams was not bleeding from his mouth”.

When two match officials entered, Dr Chapman was examining Williams’s mouth and said his tooth was “wobbly”, the player said. He told the fitness to practice panel that his tooth was not loose. He then asked her to cut his lip. Williams said he told an initial ERC hearing last July into the incident that he had sustained a genuine injury to his mouth but he changed his story at a later appeal.

“What I said happened was what I have just told this hearing,” he said. “It was a fabricated injury.”

Harlequins director of rugby Dean Richards was given a three-year ban by the ERC appeals panel after Williams changed his evidence.

It emerged during the hearing that Richards had ordered fake blood injuries on four other occasions and orchestrated the ‘Bloodgate’ cover-up.

Williams’s initial 12-month ban was reduced to four months after his admission of the capsule use.

Dr Chapman, an accident and emergency consultant at Maidstone Hospital in Kent, was cleared of any wrongdoing at the first hearing by the ERC which then ruled it had no jurisdiction over her in the appeal case.

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