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Quins 'supportive' of blood doctor

Harlequins, experiencing fresh torment over the fake blood scandal that cost Dean Richards his job as director of rugby, yesterday acknowledged their deep sense of responsibility regarding Dr Wendy Chapman, currently appearing before a General Medical Council disciplinary panel investigating her role in the affair.

Dr Chapman has admitted cutting the lip of the Quins wing Tom Williams, who had bitten on a blood capsule as part of a substitution scam and was attempting to conceal the deceit.

"I've been in contact with Wendy: there are a lot of people at the club who feel a great deal of sympathy for her and have been supportive, and that is about as much as you can do," said Mark Evans, the Quins chief executive. "It is well over a year since the event, there is a different mood and we have moved to a new place ahead of a new season, but this is part of the club's history and will always be there."

Evans agreed the publicity generated by the GMC hearing was uncomfortable, but added: "You can't control it. It happens when it happens." He pointed out that the physiotherapist Steph Brennan would be called to account next month and anticipated another spike in interest.

Steve Borthwick, not only dropped as England captain by the manager, Martin Johnson, but ejected from the senior squad for the crime of being injured at the wrong time, is again struggling for fitness after tearing a thigh muscle. The lock will miss Saracens' first two Premiership matches.