Rugby has taken its first step towards cleaning up its image by launching a campaign to "promote and protect" the sport's five core values.
The project was set up by the Rugby Football Union in conjunction with Premier Rugby and the players’ union to address concerns that standards of behaviour were changing as more people became involved in rugby.
The task group looked at issues ranging from abusive parents on the touchline at mini-rugby to players becoming less respectful to officials and fans at elite matches growing more hostile.
The core values were identified as teamwork, respect, enjoyment, discipline and sportsmanship.
The study has been ongoing for two years and is not an immediate reaction to this summer’s scandals - that will occur next week, when the RFU’s Image of the Game task-force reports its findings.
But Bloodgate and the drugs issue at Bath have only served to highlight problems facing the game.
“As we have seen this summer there are new challenges the sport has come across,” said Damian Hopley, chief executive of the Professional Rugby Players’ Association.
“The key issue is how we react. This is a tangible investment from the Rugby Football Union and the Premiership clubs. This is a very positive step forward.
“Yes, there were some serious body blows to the game but we should not lose sight of the fact after a pretty horrific summer that there are some outstanding individuals playing, coaching and refereeing the game.
“The players have a burning ambition to restore the reputation of the game by adopting these core values that transcend the amateur and professional game.
“The sport is in a great position. We have record attendances at Guinness Premiership matches.
“We have new people coming through the turnstiles and the key thing is that we don’t sit back and just expect people to know what rugby is all about and what the values are.”