Evans unfazed by 'Bloodgate' abuse

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The Independent Online

Nick Evans eagerly awaits the sledging he expects Harlequins to receive in response to the 'Bloodgate' scandal.

The former New Zealand fly-half was unwittingly caught up in the incident last April when Harlequins met Leinster in the Heineken Cup quarter-finals.

Quins' guilt in fabricating the blood injury to winger Tom Williams is certain to make them a verbal target for opposition fans and teams this season, and Evans is braced for the inevitable.

"I'll look forward to the sledging - it will be like cricket," he said.

"I was excepting a bit during our first pre-season game in Edinburgh but we didn't (get) much.

"I'm pretty sure the English crowd won't be so forgiving at places like Gloucester or Bath.

"We don't have any Irish teams in our Heineken Cup pool so we won't be getting problems from them!"

The Rugby Football Union's disciplinary chief has decided to take no further action against Harlequins players allegedly involved in four occasions of using fake blood.

Quins are still reeling from lengthy bans dished out by European Rugby Cup Limited to their former rugby director Dean Richards, ex-physiotherapist Steph Brennan and current wing Williams.

Quins were also fined £260,000 but they avoided the ultimate sanction of expulsion from this season's European club competition.

RFU disciplinary officer Judge Jeff Blackett has now reviewed documentation from ERC relating to allegations of occasions additional to the Leinster game when fake blood was used by Quins.

Blackett said yesterday: "It is apparent from evidence provided to the Harlequins internal review by players who described practices in other teams in which they have played, that Harlequins is not the only club which may have been guilty of inappropriate behaviour of a similar kind."

'Bloodgate' forced the resignation of director of rugby Richards, who has been banned for three years, and landed Quins with a hefty fine.

Richards has yet to be replaced, although former Wasps director of rugby Ian McGeechan has been strongly linked with the position.

McGeechan appeared to rule himself out of contention yesterday, stating he had not spoken to anyone at Quins.

In the meantime, John Kingston will continue as head coach assisted by Collin Osborne and Tony Diprose.

"Fortunately, because of Dean's trust, Collin, Tony and I were given total responsibility for the team last season," said Kingston.

"It was a successful formula so it was important that the three of us continue to work like that. The only difference is that we now select the team.

"It's fair to say I'm confident that Dean's absence will not impact on the immediate playing fortunes of the side."