Belfast Telegraph

Matchday doctor 'barred from room'

A leading surgeon said "Bloodgate" would not have happened if he had been allowed to inspect the bogus mouth injury of a rugby player.

Leinster matchday doctor Professor Arthur Tanner said he was stopped from entering the Harlequins dressing room as his opposite number cut the lip of a player to cover up the ruse.

Dr Wendy Chapman has said she was ashamed that she succumbed to "huge pressure" from Harlequins winger Tom Williams who wanted to conceal that minutes earlier he had bitten into a fake-blood capsule.

His so-called injury meant a specialist goal kicker could come on to the pitch in the dying minutes of last April's Heineken Cup rugby union quarter-final tie against the Irish side, who held on to win 6-5.

Dr Chapman has already admitted almost all the charges levelled against her by the General Medical Council which says her conduct on the match day and at a later European Rugby Cup (ERC) disciplinary hearing was likely to bring the profession into disrepute and was dishonest.

Prof Tanner - a former Leinster player and current director of surgery at Ireland's Royal College of Surgeons - told the GMC fitness to practise hearing that the game of rugby would "get over" Bloodgate but Dr Chapman had "perhaps suffered a lot more".

He told the panel hearing: "Had I been able to inspect the mouth it would have been obvious that there was no injury and no-one would have had to inflict an injury. It would have been over in an instant."

Williams's initial 12-month ban was reduced to four months after his admission of the capsule use, club physio Steph Brennan - said to have given the capsule to the player - was banned for two years and the club itself was fined £258,000.

Dr Chapman is currently suspended from practising medicine pending the outcome of the hearing in which she could be struck off.

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