Rugby Union: Regan faces disrepute charge of `deceiving referee'

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The Independent Online
MARK REGAN, the former England hooker, was last night charged with bringing the game into disrepute. The Leeds forward, a member of England's World Cup-winning squad, will face a Rugby Football Union disciplinary panel in London next week. It follows the Tykes' Powergen Cup quarter- final victory over Northampton at Franklin's Gardens 10 days ago.

Regan, who retired from international rugby earlier this season, has been charged under the RFU's rule 5.12, "conduct prejudicial to the interests of the game". The specific allegations are that he "attempted to deceive the referee [Chris White] by exaggerating the effects of a stamp to his head during the match" and "stating in a television interview that he intentionally exaggerated the effect of a stamp to his head in an attempt to persuade the referee to send off an opposition player".

If found guilty of the allegations, thought to be unprecedented against a top-flight English player, then he could face suspension, a financial penalty, or both.

The Northampton scrum-half Mark Robinson was sent off by White for stamping on the 33-year-old Regan's head during the cup tie. Robinson appeared before an RFU disciplinary panel last week, and received a 14-week ban, which means he will miss the rest of this season unless Saints reach the Zurich Premiership play-offs or Heineken Cup final.

Next Tuesday's hearing will be chaired by Geraint Jones QC, assisted by the former England prop Jeff Probyn and David Hurst. Regan is free to continue playing until the outcome of the hearing.

l England are set for appointments with Australia and New Zealand as part of their autumn Test schedule next season. The November schedule was yesterday confirmed by the Six Nations Committee, with Australia due at Twickenham on 12 or 13 November, followed by New Zealand a week later and then Samoa.

l The Scotland flanker Ally Hogg is recovering fast from injury and could yet turn out against France in their opening Six Nations Championship match in Paris on Saturday. Hogg, the youngest back-row forward to play for Scotland when he came into the team last season as a 21-year-old, was seemingly ruled out after injuring his knee playing for Edinburgh in the Heineken Cup two weeks ago. Hogg has not been given the all-clear yet, but the medical team is optimistic about his chances.