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English Rugby
Richards insists fake blood is widespread
September 13, 2009

Former Harlequins director of rugby Dean Richards has claimed the faking of injuries has been widespread in rugby union for years and "everybody knows that it goes on."

Richards, who has been banned from the sport for three years following his role in the so-called 'Bloodgate' scandal, explained that various methods of manipulating the system have emerged in rugby. The incident which led to Richards' worldwide ban occurred in Harlequins' Heineken Cup quarter-final against Leinster at the Twickenham Stoop on April 12.

Tom Williams was given a blood capsule and ordered to feign injury so that Quins, who were trailing 6-5 with five minutes remaining, could send previously substituted fly-half Nick Evans back onto the field.

Richards told the News of the World, "Blood capsules, cutting of players, false blood on rags, faked front-row injuries - all have gone on in the game. Hand on heart, if guys came out and spoke honestly about it, everybody knows that it goes on. 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. It happens, and it has happened, and it's not just the English who have done it.

"It's not just in England, it's across the world. Tana Umaga was playing for New Zealand in the 1999 World Cup when he said things like that were going on. And allegedly it was going on in the 2003 World Cup. It happens, and it has happened, and it's not just the English who have done it."

Richards, 46, is set to lose a reported £500,000 in earnings during his ban and admitted to the newspaper that he did not know what the future holds.

"I need clarification about what I can and can't do," he said. "I haven't really had that yet. My kids play rugby on a Sunday, can I coach them?

"I've got relatives in Australia who called and said that if I wanted to get away from it all, then they would look after me - but I've had to face up to this. I've been involved in top-flight rugby now since I was 17 or 18. To not be involved now is a big wrench.

"A one-year ban you can just about get away with but two years or more and you're dead and buried. They have taken my career away from me."

In a separate interview with the Sunday Times, he added, "I don't know if I'd want to come back to the game. The way this has been handled, I've lost a lot of faith in the system.

"Various people used the media to leak and drip-feed evidence into the public domain. They did that to maximise the hurt to me and others. I believe the ban is too long, disproportionate, but I was always going to be punished. One definite is that I've got to keep putting food on the table for my family."

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