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Page last updated at 09:43 GMT, Sunday, 13 September 2009 10:43 UK

Richards claims other teams cheat

Former Harlequins director of rugby Dean Richards
Richards is unsure whether he will work in rugby again

Disgraced former Harlequins director of rugby Dean Richards has claimed the faking of injuries is widespread.

Richards was banned for three years for his role in the 'Bloodgate' scandal after Tom Williams used a fake blood capsule in a Heineken Cup match.

But Richards told the News of the World: "Everybody knows that it goes on. It does happen.

"Blood capsules, cutting of players, false blood on rags, faked front-row injuries, all have gone on."

The incident took place in a quarter-final tie against Leinster last April as Quins tried to get goalkicker Nick Evans back on to the field.

In addition to the suspension for Richards, Quins were fined £259,000 while winger Williams and physio Steph Brennan were handed bans for their roles in the affair.

606: DEBATE

Richards' ban was particularly severe because he was found to have been involved in four similar incidents.

After ordering the use of the fake blood capsule, Richards then decided to orchestrate a cover-up.

But the 46-year-old added: "Hand on heart, if guys came out and spoke honestly about it, everybody knows that it goes on.

"I am sure other coaches would have been thinking 'there but for the grace of God go I'.

"Some people have physically cut people in the past and it was suggested to me by a couple of overseas players that we should have done that.

"I refused to do that, which is why we went down the route of using blood capsules.

"Yes we did wrong, we used a blood capsule. I'm quite comfortable saying that we did do that. But if there was any cutting done it certainly wasn't done at my instigation.

"The blood on the rag, tomato ketchup on the rag, I have seen that done before."

A one-year ban you can just about get away with but two years or more and you're dead and buried

Dean Richards

The suspensions were imposed by the European Rugby Cup independent appeals committee but the ERC has now said it considers the matter closed.

The Rugby Football Union has also decided against taking any further action against Quins as the governing body tries to draw a line under the saga.

The RFU has however set up a 13-man task group in response to recent scandals, that have included eye-gouging and the suspension of five Bath players for drug-related issues.

Richards has accepted an invitation to provide information and will attend a meeting at Twickenham on Tuesday.

But the former England international believes he may not have a long-term future in the game once he has served out his suspension.

"A one-year ban you can just about get away with but two years or more and you're dead and buried," added Richards.

"They have taken my career away from me. If someone does take me on with the allegations of bullying and everything that has gone on it would be tough because the character assassination has been absolutely total."

The former policeman was adamant he did not bully Williams into taking the blood capsule.

"The theory of bullying and coercion just doesn't wash. Tom could quite easily have said no to the blood capsule.

"There was no reason for him to say that I'd pressured him other than to get his sentence reduced."



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see also
Dallaglio named in RFU task force
28 Aug 09 |  English
I ordered blood scam - Richards
19 Aug 09 |  Harlequins
Best support for Richards return
03 Sep 09 |  Rugby Union
Clubs introduce blood injury code
03 Sep 09 |  English
Harlequins avoid ban from Europe
02 Sep 09 |  Harlequins
Richards hit by damning judgement
02 Sep 09 |  Harlequins
Harlequins chairman stands down
28 Aug 09 |  Harlequins
Quins could face further sanction
27 Aug 09 |  Harlequins
Richards banned for three years
17 Aug 09 |  Harlequins
Richards resigns Harlequins post
08 Aug 09 |  Harlequins
Quins stunned by fake injury fine
20 Jul 09 |  Harlequins
Harlequins 5-6 Leinster
12 Apr 09 |  Rugby Union


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