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Club Rugby

No further action against Harlequins

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 Tom Williams.

The suspensions followed Williams' fake blood injury during a Heineken Cup quarter-final against Leinster last season.

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: "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."

And RFU chief executive Francis Baron confirmed the setting up of a "game-wide taskforce" to review recent damaging issues in English rugby.

Baron added: "As the governing body for rugby in England, some of the evidence disclosed to ERC and Judge Blackett, alongside other high profile issues in the professional game, meant the RFU had to act.

"We will be setting up a game-wide taskforce to review all issues associated with recent events.

"The review will be wide-ranging, thorough and the recommendations in the best interests of the whole game.

"Further details on members of the taskforce and its terms of reference will be announced very shortly."