Dean Richards (rugby union)

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Dean Richards
Date of birth (1963-07-11) 11 July 1963 (age 55)
Place of birth Nuneaton, England
Height 1.91 m (6 ft 3 in)
Weight 121 kg (19 st 1 lb)
Children 4
Occupation(s) Rugby union coach
Rugby union career
Position(s) number eight
Senior career
Years Team Apps (Points)
1983–97 Leicester Tigers 314 ()
National team(s)
Years Team Apps (Points)
1989, 1993
British and Irish Lions
Teams coached
Years Team
Leicester Tigers
FC Grenoble
Banned from Coaching
Newcastle Falcons

Dean Richards (born 11 July 1963) is a former England and British & Irish Lions rugby union player. He had a long playing career with Leicester Tigers, and played 48 times for England and six times for the British & Irish Lions.

Playing career

Club career

Richards was schooled at John Cleveland College, in Hinckley,[1] and was a police constable for Leicestershire Constabulary between the 1980s and 1990s before English rugby union became professional.[2] He played for Roanne in France for a year before returning to England to play for Leicester Tigers.[1][3]

Richards made his debut for Leicester in 1982.[4] He captained Leicester for four seasons in the early 1990s. During his playing career he won the league twice and the cup three times, and was voted Whitbread's Rugby World player of the year in 1990/91. He led Leicester to their first Heineken Cup final against Brive, at Cardiff Arms Park, in 1997, which was won by Brive by 28 points to nine.[5]

International career

Richards was capped three times for England Schools in 1981,[6] and in 1983, he played for the Barbarians and was selected for the England Under-23 Tour to Romania.[7] He made his senior England debut in 1986 against Ireland at Twickenham in the Five Nations Championship, scoring two tries in a 25–20 points win.[8] He became an integral part of the England pack in the early 1990s,[4] and was one of the top number eights in the world, winning 48 England caps and six caps for the British Lions on their 1989 and 1993 tours.[3] He played in the 1987, 1991 and 1995 World Cups.:[3] although being unlucky to be dropped for the later stages of the 1991 World Cup, when the selectorial dilemma between Teague and Skinner for the number 6 spot, both having proved their worth to the side, was resolved by playing both men (Skinner at 6, Teague next to him at number 8) and dropping Richards. Richards was to regain his place, at Teague's expense, for the 1992 Five Nations Championship as England got their second Grand Slam in succession.

Coaching career


Richards took over from Bob Dwyer as coach of Leicester in 1998,[9] and in his first full season as Director of Rugby won the Allied Dunbar Premiership, the third time in club history.[10][11] Tigers successfully defended the title for four years in a row under him. Leicester also won two Heineken Cups, defeating Stade Français 34–30 in 2001 and beating Munster 15–9 in 2002.[4] After two trophy-less seasons and a failure to get out of the pool in Europe, Richards left the club in February 2004, ending a 23-year association with the club.[12][13][14]


In June 2004, Richards was appointed as coach at French club FC Grenoble for the following season.[15] Grenoble struggled in the French rugby championship and it was announced in May 2005 that Richards would leave the club at the end of the season by mutual consent.[16]


He was appointed Director of Rugby at Harlequins in May 2005 following their relegation from the Zurich Premiership in the 2004–05 season,[17] and led them back to the Premiership at the first attempt, in a season where they lost only one league game.[18]


Richards resigned from Harlequins in August 2009 after an incident which became known as Bloodgate. He had orchestrated and had "central control" over a fake blood injury to Harlequins player Tom Williams to bring a more experienced replacement kicker onto the field during a Heineken Cup match against Leinster.[19][20] With the game poised at 6-5 late in the second half, a successful penalty kick would have resulted in a place in the semifinals for Harlequins. Richards was found to have been involved in four similar incidents, and was banned from coaching for three seasons.[21]

Harlequins were fined £259,000, and Williams was banned for four months. Harlequins' physiotherapist Steph Brennan was banned for two years. The doctor involved, Wendy Chapman, who cut the player's lip to try to cover up the incident, was reprimanded by the Medical Council, but escaped a ban.[22]


In spring 2012 Richards was named Director of Rugby at Newcastle Falcons when his ban ended in August and, as he had with Harlequins, led Newcastle to promotion back to the Premiership at the first attempt.

Richards led the Falcons to an 8th-place finish in the 2016-17 Aviva Premiership, with Falcons ending up just 3 points off the top 6. This was their best finish in 11 years, and their biggest number of wins in 15 years.[23]


  1. ^ a b Hands, David (1 March 2010). "Richards makes his point". The Times. London, England. Newsbank. A product of John Cleveland College in Hinckley, he played for the local colts side before spending a year in France, working in a factory and playing for Roanne in the third division.
  2. ^ Hands, David (2 September 2009). "Dean Richards former police officer who had trouble with his statements". The Times. London. Retrieved 1 May 2010.
  3. ^ a b c "Dean Richards | Rugby Union | Players and Officials". ESPN Scrum. Retrieved 1 July 2010.
  4. ^ a b c Harlow, Phil (3 February 2004). "A Leicester legend". BBC Sport. Retrieved 1 July 2010.
  5. ^ Rea, Chris (26 January 1997). "Rugby Union : Tigers lost in Brive new world". The Independent. Retrieved 1 July 2010.
  6. ^ Hands, David (1 March 2010). "Richards makes his point". The Times. London, England. Newsbank. Richards is in his fourth full season with Leicester. He played for England Schools three times in 1981, alongside Fran Clough, ...
  7. ^ Hands, David (1 March 2010). "Richards makes his point". The Times. London, England. Newsbank. He did sufficiently well in 1983 to win an invitation to play for the Barbarians and a place in England's Under −23 Tour to Romania ...
  8. ^ Hands, David (3 March 1986). "England rise out of the pit as the pendulum swings firmly to Paris". The Times. London, England. Newsbank.
  9. ^ Souster, Mark (18 February 1998). "Leicester dismiss Dwyer and hand reins to Richards". The Times. London, England. Newsbank. Rugby union's revolving door saw Bob Dwyer exit from Leicester yesterday with immediate effect to be passed on the way in by Dean Richards, who will assume responsibility for coaching and first-team affairs.
  10. ^ Roche, Tony (4 May 1999). "World woe for Deano". The Sun. London. Newsbank. Dean Richards clutched his third title medal and admitted: "It will take a miracle to repeat this next year." Leicester boss Richards saw his Tigers clinch the Allied Dunbar crown with a 21–12 win at Newcastle on Sunday.
  11. ^ Hands, David (4 May 1999). "Firm foundations secure new title deeds for Leicester". The Times. Newsbank. [Leicester's] third league title, secured against Newcastle on Sunday to go alongside those of 1988 and 1995, also sends a message to the rest of England's ambitious clubs ...
  12. ^ "Richards leaves Tigers". Telegraph. 2 February 2004. Retrieved 1 July 2010.
  13. ^ "Richards leaves Leicester". BBC Sport. 2 February 2004. Retrieved 1 July 2010.
  14. ^ "Richards reveals angry exit". BBC Sport. 2 July 2004. Retrieved 1 July 2010.
  15. ^ "Richards takes Grenoble job". BBC News. 25 June 2004. Retrieved 1 July 2010.
  16. ^ "Richards ends spell at Grenoble". BBC Sport. 5 May 2005. Retrieved 1 July 2010.
  17. ^ "Richards in vow to take Quins up". BBC Sport. 9 May 2005. Retrieved 1 July 2010.
  18. ^ "Quins seal return to Premiership". BBC Sport. 1 April 2006. Retrieved 1 July 2010.
  19. ^ Kelso, Paul (2 September 2009). "Bloodgate: Dean Richards had 'central control', says judgment of ERC hearing". Telegraph. Retrieved 1 July 2010.
  20. ^ "Richards resigns Harlequins post". BBC News. 8 August 2009. Retrieved 1 July 2010.
  21. ^ "Richards banned for three years". BBC News. 17 August 2009. Retrieved 1 July 2010.
  22. ^ Souster, Mark (18 August 2009). "Dean Richards handed worldwide ban". The Times. London. Retrieved 18 August 2009.
  23. ^ "Fans flocking to Falcons after season of progress".

External links

  • Harlequins profile
  • – Dean Richards
  • Lions Profile
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