Quins line up Richards for coaching role

Click to follow
The Independent Online

Dean Richards last night cleared the way for a return to these shores by announcing that he is to quit his job at the French club Grenoble, thus fuelling speculation that the former Leicester Tigers No 8 and coach is to join Harlequins.

Dean Richards last night cleared the way for a return to these shores by announcing that he is to quit his job at the French club Grenoble, thus fuelling speculation that the former Leicester Tigers No 8 and coach is to join Harlequins.

Quins' present head coach Mark Evans, who is also the London club's chief executive, is believed to be standing down from his coaching role at the end of the season. The club have admitted speaking to Richards, as well as Leeds's Phil Davies and London Irish's Gary Gold. No decision is expected in the immediate future.

Grenoble, who are struggling for survival in France's Top 16 competition, had agreed that Richards would stay on until the end of the season, but clearly he has had enough.

His time in charge has not been happy, according to the specialist rugby weekly Midi Olympique, which claims that his players recently refused to get on the bus to travel to Toulouse. They were persuaded to go, and lost the match. Richards remained at home.

Presently in 14th place, Grenoble face an away match against Béziers at the weekend which could decide their fate. They are now employing their third backs coach in a month.

Pierre Trémouille was dismissed last month. His successor, Franck Corrihons, the man the players wanted as head coach, lasted nine days before walking out on 23 February. The club then appointed Jean-Philippe Cariat.

The England full-back Iain Balshaw's knee may not be as badly injured as had first been feared and he could even play for relegation-threatened Leeds in their crucial Premiership match against Leicester on Sunday. Balshaw strained a medial ligament against Scotland at Twickenham last weekend and had a precautionary scan yesterday.

Davies, the Leeds director of rugby, said: "The injury was very sore at first, but has settled down a lot since the weekend and the medical staff are confident there is no serious injury. He could be available for Sunday."

In New Zealand, the Blues and All Blacks lock forward Ali Williams has been banned for six weeks after been found guilty of stamping on the head of the Crusaders captain Richie McCaw in a Super 12 match at Auckland's Eden Park last weekend.

The Blues' half-backs David Gibson and Sam Tuitupou were also found guilty after being cited for the same incident. Each received a two-week ban for stamping on McCaw's lower back.

Comments