Falcons swoop for returning Dean Richards

 

Newcastle are still warmish favourites to be the Premiership's fall guys this season, but if they start next term in the second tier of the English game they will be anything but a sideshow. By appointing the disgraced former Leicester and Harlequins boss Dean Richards as their new director of rugby – the Tynesiders issued official confirmation yesterday, less than a month before the third anniversary of the infamous "Bloodgate" match that led to Richards being branded a cheat – they have guaranteed their future in the headlines, if not in the top flight.

Richards, once a folk-hero No 8 for Leicester and England as well as a former policeman, was suspended after planning and executing an illicit substitution during a Heineken Cup quarter-final between Quins and Leinster in April 2009. Tom Williams, the Londoners' wing, bit on a fake blood capsule and left the field, allowing Richards to reintroduce the All Black fly-half Nick Evans, in the hope he would win the game with a late kick. In the event, Leinster won by a point and went on to take the title.

Television footage of Williams' suspicious actions led to an investigation, quickly followed by a Harlequins cover-up that backfired spectacularly when the player came clean to a disciplinary tribunal. Medical and conditioning staff who were implicated were dragged before their professional bodies; the Quins chairman resigned; and Richards was disqualified from all rugby for three years. That ban expires in August, at which point he will set up office at Kingston Park.

"The first year was probably the most difficult in many ways," said Richards, 48. "In other ways, it wasn't. Because the job is 24/7, you tend to neglect your family. It is only in the past three years that I have spent the amount of time I wanted with my wife and kids. Watching the children playing rugby has been fantastic. But in the last 12 months I have grown more and more frustrated, watching games and, like any coach, thinking, 'Why are they doing that?' I want to get back in. I'm raring to go."

Initially linked with a job at Worcester, Richards was talked into joining Newcastle by the owner, Semore Kurdi, and will keep his side of the bargain even if the Falcons go down.

"I agreed to join Quins before they were relegated and always intended to honour the contract I'd signed," he said. "It's the same with Newcastle."

BUY RUGBY WORLD CUP TICKETS

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services

Day In a Page

Fishing for votes with Nigel Farage: The Ukip leader shows how he can work an audience as he casts his line to the disaffected of Grimsby

Fishing is on Nigel Farage's mind

Ukip leader casts a line to the disaffected
Who is bombing whom in the Middle East? It's amazing they don't all hit each other

Who is bombing whom in the Middle East?

Robert Fisk untangles the countries and factions
China's influence on fashion: At the top of the game both creatively and commercially

China's influence on fashion

At the top of the game both creatively and commercially
Lord O’Donnell: Former cabinet secretary on the election and life away from the levers of power

The man known as GOD has a reputation for getting the job done

Lord O'Donnell's three principles of rule
Rainbow shades: It's all bright on the night

Rainbow shades

It's all bright on the night
'It was first time I had ever tasted chocolate. I kept a piece, and when Amsterdam was liberated, I gave it to the first Allied soldier I saw'

Bread from heaven

Dutch survivors thank RAF for World War II drop that saved millions
Britain will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power - Labour

How 'the Axe' helped Labour

UK will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power
Rare and exclusive video shows the horrific price paid by activists for challenging the rule of jihadist extremists in Syria

The price to be paid for challenging the rule of extremists

A revolution now 'consuming its own children'
Welcome to the world of Megagames

Welcome to the world of Megagames

300 players take part in Watch the Skies! board game in London
'Nymphomaniac' actress reveals what it was really like to star in one of the most explicit films ever

Charlotte Gainsbourg on 'Nymphomaniac'

Starring in one of the most explicit films ever
Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi: The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers

Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi

The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers
Vince Cable interview: Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'

Vince Cable exclusive interview

Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'
Iwan Rheon interview: Game of Thrones star returns to his Welsh roots to record debut album

Iwan Rheon is returning to his Welsh roots

Rheon is best known for his role as the Bastard of Bolton. It's gruelling playing a sadistic torturer, he tells Craig McLean, but it hasn't stopped him recording an album of Welsh psychedelia
Morne Hardenberg interview: Cameraman for BBC's upcoming show Shark on filming the ocean's most dangerous predator

It's time for my close-up

Meet the man who films great whites for a living
Increasing numbers of homeless people in America keep their mobile phones on the streets

Homeless people keep mobile phones

A homeless person with a smartphone is a common sight in the US. And that's creating a network where the 'hobo' community can share information - and fight stigma - like never before