Quins' backing for England trio

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The Independent Online

Harlequins have expressed their support for the trio of players from the club who were involved in England’s investigation into allegations of misconduct.

The Rugby Football Union’s report into events after the first Test against New Zealand in Auckland on 14 June cleared Quins backs David Strettle and Danny Care of any wrongdoing.

Full-back Brown was fined £1,000 and reprimanded for staying out all night and arriving late for a physiotherapist appointment.

Brown and Care were at the centre of sex allegations made by a woman who returned to the team hotel but made no formal complaint to police.

The RFU’s chief disciplinary officer Jeff Blackett, who conducted the investigation, could find no evidence to support the allegations.

A Quins statement released today read: “We would like to make clear our continued support for the three players from the club identified in the report.

“The serious criminal allegations that were widely reported in parts of the New Zealand and British media have been shown to have no evidential basis.

“The rumours and innuendo surrounding other events have been clearly shown to be grossly misleadingly, inaccurate and exaggerated.

“It has been a difficult time for all three players as they have had to withstand a great deal of ill-informed and potentially damaging speculation about their behaviour, while choosing to remain silent pending the outcome of the enquiry.”

Harlequins accept the punishment handed to Brown, who was also warned in future not to put himself in any compromising situation that may bring the game into disrepute.

The statement continued: “All three players have had exemplary disciplinary records in their rugby careers to date.

“It was particularly pleasing to see that Danny Care and David Strettle were entirely cleared of any misconduct.

“In the case of Mike Brown, he is fully aware that he should have returned to the team hotel at an earlier hour.

“Although a relatively minor misdemeanour, he fully accepts the sanction imposed and will now concentrate on regaining his place in the England team.”