ER Harlequins club doctor Wendy Chapman yesterday admitted to deliberately cutting winger Tom Williams’ lip after the infamous ‘Bloodgate’ Heineken Cup match last April.
Chapman, who faces the possibility of being struck off at a General Medical Council hearing which started yesterday, admitted to actions likely to bring the medical profession into disrepute and dishonest conduct in agreeing to slice William’s lower lip with a stitch cutter in the dressing room following the match.
The hearing in Manchester was told how a frantic Williams twice asked the doctor to cut his lip as he was challenged over the authenticity of his ‘injury’ after he bit into a blood capsule to force his substitution during Harlequins’ defeat to Leinster.
“I think I was very panicky,” Williams, 26, told the hearing. “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.”
Chapman, who was suspended by the GMC in September and will face the panel today, denies intentionally trying to deceive officials into thinking Williams was injured by saying he had a loose tooth.
The controversy unfolded as Harlequins, trailing 5-6 in the dying moments of their quarter-final, sought to substitute Williams for specialist kicker Nick Evans. They were able to make the change under the blood injury rule and Williams left the pitch with red liquid oozing from his mouth.
However, the elaborate plan backfired spectacularly when Evans missed the late kick and Harlequins lost. Soon after, rugby officials began an inquiry that led to hefty fines and lengthy bans for those involved.
Williams was handed a 12-month suspension from rugby, which was later reduced to four months after he admitted faking the injury. Harlequins were fined £258,000 for misconduct and the club’s former director of rugby Dean Richards resigned in the wake of the scandal.