Dean Richards (rugby union)

IntroEnglish rugby union player
Is Athlete 
Rugby union player 
From United Kingdom 
Type Sports 
Birth 11 July 1963 
, Nuneaton, Warwickshire, West Midlands, England
Age:57 years
Star sign Cancer

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, and was a police constable for Leicestershire Constabulary between the 1980s and 1990s before English rugby union became professional. He played for Roanne in France for a year before returning to England to play for Leicester Tigers.

Richards made his debut for Leicester in 1982. 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.

International career

Richards was capped three times for England Schools in 1981, and in 1983, he played for the Barbarians and was selected for the England Under-23 Tour to Romania. 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. He became an integral part of the England pack in the early 1990s, 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. He played in the 1987, 1991 and 1995 World Cups.: 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 Dwyer as coach of Leicester in 1998, and in his first full season as Director of Rugby won the Allied Dunbar Premiership, the third time in club history. The 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. 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. In June 2004, Richards was appointed as coach at French club FC Grenoble for the following season. 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.

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

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


Richards left Harlequins in August 2009 over an incident which became known as Bloodgate. It was acknowledged that 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 fixture against Leinster. 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 the Harlequins club. The disgraced Richards acknowledged cheating and was banned from coaching for three seasons, and the International Rugby Board (IRB) also confirmed that they would apply the ban to rugby union worldwide. The doctor involved, Dr Wendy Chapman, who cut the player’s lip to try to cover-up the fake-blood cheating, was reprimanded by the Medical Council, but escaped a ban.