Rugby chiefs have thrown the book at ex-Harlequins boss Dean Richards, a former England and Lions number 8, and banned him from every rugby competition on the planet.
Just twenty four hours ago, Richards was banned from competition in Europe for three years for his part in the now notorious fake blood injury incident in last Aprils European Cup clash between Harlequins and eventual champions Leinster.
But the International Rugby Board (IRB) have now upgraded his ban to all competitions throughout the world.
During that Harlequins-Leinster game Tom Williams faked injury to allow Nick Evans, a drop goal specialist, back on the field. Evans had been substituted earlier in the half but Williams’s departure to the blood-bin allowed the New Zealand fly-half to return to the action in the nail-biting final ten minutes. Quins did manage to engineer one drop goal attempt but Evans miscued badly and Leinster held out to win 6-5.
Williams (four months ban) and former Quins physio Steph Brennan (two years ban) have also had their suspensions extended to worldwide bans for their part in the incident, which has now been nicknamed “bloodgate”.
An IRB statement read: Under IRB Regulations, and the application of the universality principle, all disciplinary sanctions handed down in rugby, including those arising from cross-border competitions, must be applied by all unions in membership of the IRB. The IRB operates a zero tolerance policy towards cheating of any form in the game.
Richards, 46, has been implicated in four other similar incidents. He has since resigned his position. Quins have also been fined £259,000 for their part in the affair and were very nearly booted out of this season’s European Cup.
A heavy price to pay, or justice done?