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Last Updated: Tuesday August 18 2009 06:22 GMT

Rugby boss banned for fake injury

Harlequins play Leicester in the Heineken Cup
Harlequins boss Dean Richards (on the right of the picture)

Top rugby coach Dean Richards has been banned for three years after one of his players pretended to be injured.

Tom Williams was playing for Harlequins in a European Cup match when a cut on his face forced him off the pitch.

Quins had already used all their subs, but were allowed to replace Williams, and brought one of their top goal kickers back on to try to win the game.

That didn't work, and now it's been revealed that Williams used fake blood to make it look like he was hurt.

The game against Irish side Leinster took place on 12 April in the Heineken Cup, and with just minutes left Quins were losing 6-5.

Harlequins player Tom Williams
Harlequins player Tom Williams used a blood capsule to fake an injury

Top goal kicker Nick Evans had already gone off with a slight injury of his own, but when Williams went off with what looked like a blood injury, Evans was allowed back on.

Evans did have a chance to win the match for Harlequins, but missed with a drop goal.

TV pictures showed Williams winking at other Harlequins players and officials, which really angered Leinster.

It's thought Williams' face was cut on purpose to hide the fact that he used a blood capsule.

Harlequins player Nick Evans replaces Tom Williams
Expert goal kicker Nick Evans replaced Tom Williams in the match

Now, after a long investigation rugby bosses have decided that Richards and the club had used the same trick in FOUR other games.

Williams had been given a 12-month ban from playing, but now he's admitted what happened, it's been reduced to four months.

After the rugby bosses' decision Williams said: "I sincerely regret the role that I've played in this unacceptable incident that has done so much damage to the image of rugby union.

"I let down my team-mates and the club's fans, and I'll have to live with those actions for the rest of my career."

Dean Richards
Former Harlequins coach Dean Richards

Harlequins have been fined £259,000 and could be kicked out of this year's Heineken Cup tournament. A club physiotherapist has been banned for two years.

Richards was a brilliant player for England and the British and Irish Lions before becoming a coach. He was also a good coach too.

Richards resigned as Harlequins coach before the results of the investigation came out.