Dean Richards handed three-year ban

Dean Richards has been banned from coaching for three years following the Tom Williams fake blood incident in the Heineken Cup.

Dean Richards

Tom Williams’ ban has been reduced to four months, Steph Breannan the physio has been banned for two years and the fine for the club has increased to £259,000 from £206,000 and now payable in full.

There is still a decision pending on whether Harlequins will be allowed to take part in this year’s Heineken Cup.

Reports are saying that the severity of Richards’ punishment was owing to his involvement in four similar incidents – given that many people on The Rugby Blog were shocked at the blood capsule episode had taken place, the mind boggles at what else has happened.

There is a statement on the club website that only mentions the increased fine and the reduction in Williams’ ban. There is nothing about Richards that did so much for the club over the last four years, although it appears that he did even more than we thought!

This is an incredible sanction and leaves the legendary Deano’s career in tatters. I can’t wait to read his autobiography.

Will there be further twists to the tale? What were the other four incidents? Does Deano deserve this ban? What do you think?

10 thoughts on “Dean Richards handed three-year ban

  1. The ban only seems to apply to ERC organised competitions though – does that mean he could coach a club side and just sit out on the European games?

    What are the odds on Richards coming off his ban in 2012 and taking over from Martin Johnson as England coach after Johnson’s failure at only achieving the runners-up spot at RWC 2011??!

  2. amazing. i feel some sympathy for richards as i think he’s fundamentally a decent man, but that doesn’t mean i disagree with the ban – cheating of this nature had to be punished with a severe ban, one that i believe in practice will apply to all rugby…

    the law-makers need to act as well, removing loopholes from the law. no loophole = no scope for cheating. players should be forbidden to return to the pitch under any circumstances once replaced, ie blood replacements have to come from the subs’ bench. knowing this, managers/ coaches would use their bench more cannily, keeping back one or two subs until the last few minutes of the game. if the last sub is introduced in the 75th minute, and there is a blood injury one minute later, then bad luck, the team have to play with 14 until/ unless the injured party is patched up. a possible exception for front row players might be desirable to avoid uncontested scrums…

    one alternative to the above would be rugby league style ‘interchange’ with subs rolling on and off, but i wouldn’t support that…

    deano always was the master of the deadpan, and he hasn’t lost that gift. “It didn’t pan out particularly well on the day,” he said. no sh1t sherlock!

  3. Statement from the RFU:

    “European Rugby Cup (ERC) Limited has sent out a strong message that there is no room for this kind of behaviour in rugby. That is a message the RFU will continue to repeat across the game in England and through our own disciplinary processes. We can confirm that we will be upholding the bans handed out by ERC across our jurisdiction and that on this particular incident we will not be taking further action as we believe the ERC sanctions are appropriate.

    However, given the disclosure in yesterday’s appeal hearing of further incidents of a similar nature in other competitions we are awaiting the full documentation from ERC to enable us to review whether there is further action the RFU needs to take against the club, its current or former officials, on those other incidents. We will issue a further statement when we have properly reviewed the documentation.

    We have also seen the sanction applied to our employee Steph Brennan and in keeping with our commitment to uphold the ERC bans, Steph is immediately suspended from his role as England Team physio pending completion of the review process required under RFU employment policies.”

  4. The punishment should fit the crime – is eye gouging less heinous than faking an injury?
    Harlequins are not the first rugby team to fake blood injuries, Dick Best, former England coach, has said that the practice of using fake blood capsules is widespread in rugby. Richard Cockerill, the former England hooker, admits in his book In Your Face that he had stitches in his finger opened during an England game incase a replacement was needed.
    With so much financial pressure put on coaches to win games this behaviour is not surprising.
    Cheating is wrong but stopping a coach working for 3 years is disproportionate.

  5. Three years is too long. A year would have been sufficient. Three years is effectively career-ending. I hope he appeals and is successful, but I’m sure the authorities will want to just bury this now.

    Great shame for the game.

  6. It needed to be a heavy punishment and as shocked as I was when I heard it, I don’t think it’s that far off the mark. Penny I don’t think the comparison between this and Burger’s gouging ban is a very fair one, given that most of us on here already agree that was woefully inadequate (should have been more like 6 months or more).

    Certainly not trying to defend Burger and even less inclined to open the gouging debate again, but his actions didn’t really do much to change the game and only affected one player.

    Imagine though if Deano’s plan had worked – he would have cheated Leinster out of a Heineken Cup – something which affects Leinster as a province, all their players and fans, and made a huge difference to Leinster’s bottom line. Then there’s the damage to the reputation of the game and the Heineken Cup

    And whilst on-field violence can always be explained away with the old “heat of the moment” excuse, this was a very elaborate plot to execute. And then came the cover-up plan when they realised that ERC were on to them. If at some point they had all owned up it would be fair enough to say that the ban should be reduced.

    Deano (assuming that the evidence was clear) knew exactly what he was doing and showed total disregard for the other team, the rules of the game, the reputation of the game, and even his players and other colleagues, and now it even seems it wasn’t an isolated incident, so I think 3 years is fair. If that makes it career-ending, I have no sympathy and I say that as someone who only a few months ago on these very pages wanted him to get the England job.

    This is the sort of incident that calls for exemplary measures to show others that the RFU, ERC and IRB mean business and won’t stand for this kind of cheating. It is a sad day for English rugby and for Deano, who I thought was a great coach, but it’s his own fault.

  7. Deano has proved that he is big enough and man enough to take the rap.

    Persistant ‘anomolies’, such as Wasps engineering un-contested scrums at vital times in important games have so far gone unpunished.

  8. Gauging in the heat of the scrum is illegal and is penalised accordingly. Fake blood capsule is premeditated and deserves a lengthy ban. the punishement is fair… Rugby should never lower itself to the unsavoury cheating encountered in football, resulting in professionnal footballers being a bunch of overpaid prima donnas who believe that “Winning at all cost” is their motto.

    Let keep the rugby spirit alive. a hooligan game played by “gentlemen”…

Comments are closed.