Ruck and Maul: The banned played on – so is Worcester no longer part of the world?

It has been a while since our last episode of CSI Rugby, and the latest case is: when is a ban not a ban? This is how the European Rugby Cup tournament rules, as laid out in their participation agreement, defined the three-year suspension given to former Harlequins director of rugby Dean Richards: "... to suspend the Person from participating in any aspect of rugby union (including coaching, officiating, selection, team management, administration or promotion of rugby union, playing and training as part of a team or squad) in relation to the Tournament and other current and/or future events organised by ERC (and, subject to the applicable regulations of other relevant rugby authorities, in relation to rugby activities outside ERC's events) for the period of suspension..." The International Rugby Board agreed that the suspension fell under their "universality principle" so that it applied worldwide. It might be thought that Richards' recent advisory role for Worcester Rugby Club would fall within the definition of "participating in any aspect of rugby union" but the RFU's disciplinary officer, Judge Jeff Blackett, in consultation with the IRB decided otherwise.

Sackey barks up right tree

The Barbarians' team to meet England today includes Florian Fritz, Cédric Heymans and Jean-Baptiste Elissalde alongside their Toulouse team-mate Byron Kelleher, and many of the backs' calls in training in Hyde Park last Thursday were in French. Good practice for another Barbarian, Paul Sackey, who is joining Toulon next season. Perhaps that's why the Barbarians – who are bing coached by Toulon's Philippe Saint-André – picked him? Sackey is even going Gallic with his new pet Rudy, a puppy of the Dogue de Bordeaux breed. Next spring Nick Mallett, who presided over the Barbarians' defeat of the All Blacks at Twickenham last November, will be coach again when the invitation club face Richmond to celebrate the club's 150th anniversary and Bedford in the annual Mobbs Memorial Match.

Fluent display by Gibson

England Under-20 flanker Jamie Gibson will meet a rare language barrier when the Junior World Championship kicks off in Argentina next Saturday. The London Irish player is reading Classics at Oxford University, so has a working knowledge of Greek and Latin, and he also learnt French, Russian and Mandarin while at school. "I'd like to teach myself fluent Spanish or Italian in the next three years," Gibson said.

Silence of the Baa-baas

There are still some parts of the rugby world Sky cannot reach. England's midweek fixtures on tour against the Australian Barbarians are not being televised locally so they will be absent from UK screens too. BBC Radio will not be carrying live commentary either, but they and TalkSport, among other commercial stations, will have regular updates from Perth and Gosford on the mornings of 8 and 15 June respectively.

Ripley's still a superstar

There is no one better to leave the final words of the season to than Andy Ripley, the 62-year-old former England and Lions No 8 honoured at last Wednesday's Rugby Players Association dinner. The one-time titan of Rosslyn Park and the 'Superstars' TV series appeared on stage, frail and wheelchair-bound from the ravages of prostate cancer, but with his empathy and gentle mockery intact. "Rugby can be cruel," he told a hushed 1,200-strong audience, in reference to a list of players announced as retiring, before making a promise: "I will not turn my face to the wall".

hughgodwin@yahoo.co.uk

BUY RUGBY WORLD CUP TICKETS

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
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

Blundering Tony Blair quits as Middle East peace envoy – only Israel will miss him

Blundering Blair quits as Middle East peace envoy – only Israel will miss him

For Arabs – and for Britons who lost their loved ones in his shambolic war in Iraq – his appointment was an insult, says Robert Fisk
Fifa corruption arrests: All hail the Feds for riding to football's rescue

Fifa corruption arrests

All hail the Feds for riding to football's rescue, says Ian Herbert
Isis in Syria: The Kurdish enclave still resisting the tyranny of President Assad and militant fighters

The Kurdish enclave still resisting the tyranny of Assad and Isis

In Syrian Kurdish cantons along the Turkish border, the progressive aims of the 2011 uprising are being enacted despite the war. Patrick Cockburn returns to Amuda
How I survived Cambodia's Killing Fields: Acclaimed surgeon SreyRam Kuy celebrates her mother's determination to escape the US

How I survived Cambodia's Killing Fields

Acclaimed surgeon SreyRam Kuy celebrates her mother's determination to escape to the US
Stephen Mangan interview: From posh buffoon to pregnant dad, the actor has quite a range

How Stephen Mangan got his range

Posh buffoon, hapless writer, pregnant dad - Mangan is certainly a versatile actor
The ZX Spectrum has been crowd-funded back into play - with some 21st-century tweaks

The ZX Spectrum is back

The ZX Spectrum was the original - and for some players, still the best. David Crookes meets the fans who've kept the games' flames lit
Grace of Monaco film panned: even the screenwriter pours scorn on biopic starring Nicole Kidman

Even the screenwriter pours scorn on Grace of Monaco biopic

The critics had a field day after last year's premiere, but the savaging goes on
Menstrual Hygiene Day: The strange ideas people used to believe about periods

Menstrual Hygiene Day: The strange ideas people once had about periods

If one was missed, vomiting blood was seen as a viable alternative
The best work perks: From free travel cards to making dreams come true (really)

The quirks of work perks

From free travel cards to making dreams come true (really)
Is bridge the latest twee pastime to get hip?

Is bridge becoming hip?

The number of young players has trebled in the past year. Gillian Orr discovers if this old game has new tricks
Long author-lists on research papers are threatening the academic work system

The rise of 'hyperauthorship'

Now that academic papers are written by thousands (yes, thousands) of contributors, it's getting hard to tell workers from shirkers
The rise of Lego Clubs: How toys are helping children struggling with social interaction to build better relationships

The rise of Lego Clubs

How toys are helping children struggling with social interaction to build better relationships
5 best running glasses

On your marks: 5 best running glasses

Whether you’re pounding pavements, parks or hill passes, keep your eyes protected in all weathers
Joe Root: 'Ben Stokes gives everything – he’s rubbing off on us all'

'Ben Stokes gives everything – he’s rubbing off on us all'

Joe Root says the England dressing room is a happy place again – and Stokes is the catalyst
Raif Badawi: Wife pleads for fresh EU help as Saudi blogger's health worsens

Please save my husband

As the health of blogger Raif Badawi worsens in prison, his wife urges EU governments to put pressure on the Saudi Arabian royal family to allow her husband to join his family in Canada