Richards in old routine

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The Independent Online
After 57 matches as England captain, Will Carling has more or less exhausted avenues of pre-match exhortation or inspiration, so how glad he was to have Dean Richards, his inspiration-made-flesh, back beside him as the team set off for Scotland last night. England will be two-thirds of the way to the Triple Crown if they deny Scotland the Grand Slam tomorrow.

The two, pack leader as Carling's sturdy helpmate, sat together on a golden day in Richmond yesterday with the captain so palpably relieved to have Richards restored at No 8 that you had to wonder, yet again, how he could ever have been discarded in the first place.

This followed England's second private training session at the Bank of England ground in Roehampton.

"Dean's leadership of the forwards - although you haven't been allowed to see it - is already apparent in training sessions," Carling enthused. "The kind of example he brings and the confidence he inspires in players is very important for all of us.''

Richards is another of those who says he never reads newspapers, meaning he was supposedly unaware of the fuss his reinstatement had created.

"There is an amount of pressure, being recalled into the squad," he conceded. "But I shall have no more pressure on me than any of the other 14 players in the side." Even the insouciant Richards must know this is not true, not since he was called into the management inner sanctum last Sunday to work out how England were to stop the Scots.

Scotland's replacements yesterday lost Kenny Logan, who played a part in the win in Cardiff a fortnight ago after replacing the wing Craig Joiner. Logan broke a finger in training and his place on the bench went to Cameron Glasgow.

The Irish Rugby Football Union, who would prefer to be concentrating on their team's game against Wales in Dublin tomorrow, yesterday turned their attention to Peter Clohessy, the prop disgraced when he was sent off in Paris for stamping on Olivier Roumat's head. The IRFU did the minimum it could by endorsing Clohessy's 26-week suspension, terminating his international contract.

Simon Geoghegan, the Irish wing, came through a fitness test on his hamstring injury and the prop Nick Popplewell will play despite retiring from yesterday's session with an ankle strain.

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