Former England captain Lawrence Dallaglio has agreed to join a 13-man Rugby Football Union task group charged with cleaning up the sport and rebuilding its damaged reputation.
The RFU formed the ‘Image of the Game Task Group’ in the wake of recent drug issues at Bath and the fake blood scandal at Harlequins that have scarred English rugby.
Dallaglio is joined on the panel by players’ union chairman and Bath prop David Barnes, club chairmen Cecil Duckworth and Andrew Coppell plus executives from Twickenham, including Rob Andrew and RFU disciplinary chief Judge Jeff Blackett.
The group is chaired by RFU president John Owen and will conduct a “wide-ranging and thorough review of issues in the game”, including an investigation into the scale of cheating within rugby.
Their first meeting will take place in the week commencing September 7 and a series of recommendations will be delivered to the RFU’s management board by September 30.
RFU chief executive Francis Baron said: “The RFU has been very clear that we needed to act quickly at a game-wide level to ensure that recent events can never happen again.
“The ‘Image of the Game Task Group’ includes the people we believe can help us do that and we will also work closely with the International Rugby Board (IRB) in support of their initiatives in this area.
“This is not a disciplinary panel set up to take action against clubs and players, the RFU disciplinary process will handle that should it be necessary. Nor will it be a talking shop.
“It will be focussed on the issues at hand and actionable solutions. We will do whatever it takes to rebuild the reputation of the sport and that work starts now.”