Richards acuses Andrew of 'sour grapes'

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The Independent Online

The row between Leicester Tigers and Newcastle Falcons rumbles on. In the wake of Rob Andrew's declaration that officials treat Leicester with kid gloves, the Tigers' manager Dean Richards spoke out more fully on the subject yesterday.

The row between Leicester Tigers and Newcastle Falcons rumbles on. In the wake of Rob Andrew's declaration that officials treat Leicester with kid gloves, the Tigers' manager Dean Richards spoke out more fully on the subject yesterday.

Andrew accused the Tigers of cynicism and said referees were scared of taking action against their players. However, Richards said: "We do not train to cheat. Rob has his opinion, I still think it was a matter of sour grapes."

Andrew had accused Leicester of killing the ball in last weekend's match which resulted in a 25-22 defeat at home for the Falcons, but Richards added: "On looking at the video of the match there were just as many offences committed by Rob's team as ours."

That being the case, then, it is likely that the Rugby Football Union will arrive at the same conclusion. Nick Bunting, the RFU's referee development officer, has asked for Newcastle to send him a copy of the video so that he could assess for himself whether officials were indeed "scared" to penalise Leicester.

Richards continued: "You have to query what he [Andrew] is talking about. One would hope referees would be as fair as possible. The unfortunate thing is that Rob Andrew has made the comments for obvious reasons; he wants Leicester penalised more than other sides to even things up.

"At Leicester we believe in playing by the rules. We do not go out to maliciously hurt people, we play within the boundary of the rules and the regulations."

The South Africa coach Nick Mallett has been called before a South African Rugby Football Union disciplinary hearing and his job could be in danger after the Springboks' disappointing season.

The SARFU executive committee made the decision after reviewing Mallett's criticism of the governing body's ticket pricing policy.

Mallett's position as coach is also to be discussed after a disappointing season in which the Springboks have lost five of their eight Test matches. Speculation has mounted over recent weeks that Mallett would be replaced with a year of his contract outstanding.

South Africa, who reached the World Cup semi-finals in 1999, won just one match in the Tri-Nations this season. The former Western Province coach Harry Viljoen and the former Springbok coach, Andre Markgraaff, have been linked with the job.

Newport were yesterday preparing to unveil their latest signing, Italy's Six Nations full-back Matt Pini. The former Richmond, Narbonne and Roma player has agreed to a two-year contract.

Australia have named four uncapped players in their squad to tour Europe in October. The Wallabies selectors have been forced to ring the changes ahead of their three-Test trip to face France, England and Scotland following the departure of their former captain David Wilson, the veteran centres Tim Horan and Jason Little and the prop Richard Harry.

The current world champions, and recent Tri-Nations winners, have added George Smith, Phil Waugh, Bill Young and Nick Stiles to their 27-man touring party.

Smith and Waugh will look to fill the back-row void left by Wilson's move to Harlequins while loosehead props Young and Stiles will compete for the spot vacated by Harry.

The Australian Rugby Union managing director John O'Neill insists that the combination of 23 capped players and new talent will be a formidable force for their northern hemisphere foes. Some good news for the Wallabies is that the winger Ben Tune is expected to be fit.

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