This is a very interesting story about a blatant mis-use of the blood bin in rugby, which has cost a player 12 months and an official his job. Mind you, the rules seem to be asking for abuse in this way, given that it is the only way for a drop goal kicker to get back on the field. Probably rugby union should go the way of league with limited interchange:
Dean Richards quits Quins in disgrace
Ex-England star faces one-year ban while club could be expelled from Heineken Cup for bogus blood injury in competition last season
David Walsh Chief sports writer
DEAN RICHARDS resigned as director of rugby at Harlequins on Saturday in response to European Rugby Cup?s (ERC) damning report into the incident that saw wing Tom Williams leave the field with a bogus blood injury during the club?s Heineken Cup quarter-final against Leinster in April.
Last month, ERC announced that after submissions from the player and club at the beginning of July, they had suspended Williams from playing for a year and fined the club £215,000, with 50% of that sum suspended for two years, for fabricating the injury. Harlequins and Williams were given until noon yesterday to decide whether they would appeal. Shortly before that deadline expired, the club issued a statement announcing Richards? departure. Harlequins now face a possible expulsion from the European competition. Richards, inset, an iconic figure in English rugby who won 48 caps for his country between 1986 and 1996 and also played for the British and Irish Lions on two tours, could be banned from any involvement in the game.
Richards resigned because of the fall-out caused by a controversial substitution five minutes from the end of the Heineken Cup quarter-final at the Twickenham Stoop on April 12. Quins were losing 6-5 but were on top; one penalty goal or one drop goal would have secured them a semi-final berth. Their main kicker, Nick Evans, had been replaced earlier in the game and then his replacement and the team?s second-choice kicker, Chris Malone, was injured. The only legal way to get Evans back on the field was as a replacement for a blood injury. Wing Tom Williams suddenly had blood streaming from his mouth and the substitution to allow Evans to return was legitimised, though he failed with his drop-goal attempt.
ERC launched an investigation into the incident within days. The eventual hearing, held last month, lasted three days. Harlequins denied they had cheated and argued that Williams? injury was real, though how they explained the bizarre colour of the blood and the player?s knowing wink to a teammate as he departed, which was caught on television cameras, is anybody?s guess.
The reaction to Williams? ban was largely sympathetic, with Damian Hopley, chief executive of the players? union, the Professional Rugby Association, leading the criticism of ERC?s punishment. Harlequins had to conduct an investigation that should have begun in the hours after the match ended.
As a result of the ERC judgment and the club?s own examination of the case, Richards? position became untenable. One Harlequins source has claimed that he was asked to pay 50% of the fine levied against the club, which would have amounted to more than £100,000.
In the Harlequins? statement announcing the resignation, there was no expression of gratitude for Richards? work in gradually improving the team?s performance and building a squad that many believe was ready to challenge the giants of English rugby, Leicester Tigers and London Wasps.
Richards, it seems, is fated to experience both ends of the coaching spectrum. In his first season as Leicester coach, they won what was the Premiership and went on to retain the title for a further four years. But the greater achievement was the back-to-back Heineken Cup victories in 2001 and 2002, successes that established Leicester as comfortably the best in Europe. But after two disappointing seasons, he was sacked in 2004 and his assistant John Wells was appointed. In the process, Richards fell out with the club and the wounds are still raw.
He spent a short time in Grenoble where there was talk of a players? revolt but back at Harlequins Richards again showed his quality as a rugby man. Quins became a top side again under his direction and there was every opportunity of further progress until the fall-out from the incident in that Heineken Cup quarter-final.
The story for Richards may get even worse. Yesterday it was announced that Tom Williams is to appeal against the 12-month ban and ERC is challenging the acquittal of Richards and two other Quins officials. Williams, it is expected, will now explain the circumstances of his substitution and Richards may well be implicated. As Williams received 12 months for his part, anyone convicted of a role in that substitution could expect a lengthy suspension.
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I think their method was poor. i see many clubs just cover what would be the wound with a cloth and then run them into the change rooms being substituted under the blood rule in the process. ''
Sounds like a total balls up and in a very public game.
What is the most important position on a Rugby League and Union field? I know that they are all important but what is the most important in general play. I watch many games of both League and Union but I can never work out who has the real important position. And where do the 'playmakers' userally play.
I like to see the rugby match.That was hilarious but in keeping with the spirit of the game, surely the streaker should have been fully clothed, perhaps with extra layers.I see a lot of clubs only to cover the wound with a cloth and then run them in the locker room as a substitute under the rule of blood in the process.
I think both the league and union, but a lot of games I can never find out who has a real important position. Where do 'playmakers'userally play. Streaker certainly should have been fully clothed, there may be additional layers.I see a lot of clubs only to cover the wound with a cloth, and then run it as the next, blood in the process changing the rules to replace them.