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Last Updated: Monday, 29 October 2007, 11:55 GMT
Richards turns on Ashton critics
Harlequins director of rugby Dean Richards
It's absolutely disgraceful and these guys should never play for England again

Richards reflects on criticism of England head coach Ashton
Harlequins director of rugby Dean Richards has called for any players who criticise England coach Brian Ashton to be banned from playing for the country.

Veteran duo Lawrence Dallaglio and Mike Catt, who has now retired, have both questioned Ashton's ability following England's run to the World Cup final.

"I find it very disturbing that players are slating Brian," said Richards.

He added: "It's absolutely disgraceful and these guys should never play for England again."

Dallaglio described England as being like a "pub team" and Catt questioned Ashton's poor pre-match preparation.

In a serialisation of his book in the Mail on Sunday Catt said: "I found it baffling that we had not done any analysis on our opening Pool A opponents.

A lot of people are just turning around, shaking their heads and asking, 'Why are they doing it?' It's outrageous

Dean Richards

"Brian said he wanted us to play a simple game. He told us to think up some simple moves ourselves. I felt he should have imposed himself far more."

But Richards believes any concerns players might have had should have been kept in-house.

"I don't know what the planning and preparation was, but irrespective of what it was, you don't do your dirty washing in public," Richards told BBC Radio 5 Live.

"If you have concerns and you want to express them, you express them to the right people - in this case it would be Rob Andrew - but you don't go to the press.

"You open up the newspaper (on Sunday) morning, a week after the World Cup final, and you don't expect to see the hype that you've seen. I think it's disgraceful."

And the former England back-row forward says revelations from players are a new phenomenon in rugby union.

606: DEBATE
jrparky

"I think it has crept in because certain people are unscrupulous and want a little bit more out of the game," said Richards.

"The unwritten code of conduct is that you don't do that sort of thing and unfortunately these guys that are doing it have lost a lot of credibility.

"A lot of people are just turning around, shaking their heads and asking, 'Why are they doing it?' It's outrageous."

Ashton has also received support from the England scrum-half Andy Gomarsall, who came on as a replacement for the South Africa pool game but started the next five matches.

He said: "I love playing for Brian Ashton and he has to take full credit for what happened. But the pressures of being England coach are huge and we as a group of players perhaps needed to help him more."

Ashton's position remains uncertain as the RFU undertakes a review of England's World Cup campaign, and Richards has been touted as a possible head coach in any new set-up.

But asked if anybody had approached him about such a role, Richards said: "Nobody at all."

He added: "Brian's still in a job, he's still there, and as such I haven't considered it. We're talking about a guy who's got England to the World Cup final and narrowly lost.

"If you'd asked people about this 12 months ago, 18 months ago, they'd have thought that was quite an achievement."

SEE ALSO
What now for Ashton?
23 Oct 07 |  English
Andrew vows to build on success
22 Oct 07 |  Rugby Union
Vickery backs influence of Ashton
21 Oct 07 |  Rugby Union
Ashton future remains uncertain
22 Oct 07 |  Rugby Union
England 6-15 South Africa
20 Oct 07 |  Rugby Union


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