Harlequins and Leinster will renew their European rivalry on Sunday – five years after the ’Bloodgate’ scandal that rocked rugby.
On that occasion – a gripping quarter-final won 6-5 by Leinster – Quins faked a blood injury to wing Tom Williams in an attempt to get goalkicker Nick Evans back on the pitch, despite Evans carrying an injury.
But the fall-out for Quins was significant as then rugby director Dean Richards subsequently landed a three-year worldwide coaching ban and the club received a £260,000 fine, plus the prospect of rebuilding a battered reputation.
That damaging episode is now firmly in the past, though, and victory for Quins at the Twickenham Stoop this weekend would see them lead Pool Two heading into next weekend’s return fixture against Leinster in Dublin.
Quins are boosted by returning England men Chris Robshaw, Joe Marler, Mike Brown and Marland Yarde, and rugby director Conor O’Shea said: “It has been a tough month for those guys, but there are some games that not even I could rest them for.
“If I told them to sit this one out, they might shoot me.
“It’s exciting. This is the first time since we played Wasps in the Champions Cup in October that we’ve had our full squad, so we have to hit the ground running quickly.”