STATEMENT: England prop investigated over alleged headbutt in tunnel - Ruck

STATEMENT: England prop investigated over alleged headbutt in tunnel

According to reports, the Rugby Football Union (RFU) has initiated an investigation following an alleged incident involving Poppy Cleall, a forward for England and Saracens, during the Premier 15s semi-final on Sunday.

It is claimed that Cleall headbutted a member of the coaching staff from Exeter Chiefs. At halftime, Saracens held a 14-0 lead, but tensions escalated as the players were exiting the field at Sandy Park.

The incident involved several individuals, including Exeter assistant coach Steve Salvin and Saracens Women scrum coach Juan Figallo, as reported by The Telegraph.

Salvin expressed discontent over Cleall engaging in conversation with referee Charlie Gayther as the players were leaving for the dressing rooms. Salvin allegedly made a remark that provoked a response from Cleall, who reportedly leaned in towards Salvin, resulting in a “soft headbutt” beneath Salvin’s eye.

It is said that former Argentina prop Figallo also became involved in the altercation.

The RFU released a statement stating that they are investigating the reports of the alleged incident. They have promised to provide an update if any charges are brought forward.


Despite the incident, Cleall returned to the field for the second half. However, Exeter staged a remarkable comeback, securing a 24-21 victory.

They will now face Gloucester-Hartpury in the Premier 15s final on June 24. This loss marks the first time Saracens have failed to reach the final since the league’s establishment in 2017.

In a statement, the RFU said: “We are investigating reports of an alleged incident. Should a charge be brought, we will provide an update.”

Fans pick England XV for World Cup:


15. Freddie Steward (Leicester Tigers)

Freddie Steward of England goes over for a try during the Autumn Nations Match between England and Australia at Twickenham on 13 November 2021. Photo: Micah Crook/PPAUK

14. Anthony Watson (Leicester Tigers)

11. Max Malins (Saracens)


13. Manu Tuilagi (Sale Sharks)

Manu Tuilagi of England during the Autumn Nations Match between England and Tonga at Twickenham Stoop on 6 November 2021. Photo: Tom Sandberg/PPAUK

12. Ollie Lawrence (Bath Rugby)