Back and Gomarsall get behind Richards

Dean Richards has received the backing of a couple of former England players who say that Richards will be able to recover from this setback and eventually return to the game.

Richards 46, resigned as Harlequins director of rugby last week but on Monday he was found to be at the centre of a cover-up over an incident in the club’s Heineken Cup quarter-final defeat to Leinster in April in which wing Tom Williams faked a facial cut.

Richards was banned from participating in rugby for three years as he was found to have been involved in four similar incidents, hence the severity of his three-year suspension.

His former Leicester Tigers and England team-mate, Neil Back, is confident that Richards can repair his battered reputation and eventually return to the game.

“I am upset, I am disappointed and I am surprised at what has happened with Deano.” said Back who is now Leeds director of rugby.

“But the authorities have looked at the case, they’re in possession of all the facts, and they’ve made a decision.” he told PA Sport.

“He’s got involved in something which is unfortunate but Deano is a great man and a great father to his children.

“You speak to him about his kids and there’s a little twinkle in his eye.”

“He’s a very proud man and I’m sure he will be back in the game when his ban is completed.

“Playing alongside Deano for Leicester and England was fantastic because he’s a rugby icon. Hopefully he can return to the game in time.”

Rugby World Cup winner Neil Back is now 40 also insisted that in his career he had not seen any such cover-ups during his long and distinguished career in the game.

“I may be naive but I’ve never been involved in a club where personally I’ve seen anything like this happen.” he added.

Leeds have been promoted to the Guinness Premiership and have signed a number of players to bolster the squad for the tough challenge that lies ahead.

Former England scrum-half Andy Gomarsall has joined the club but played under Richards at Harlequins and joined Back in supporting the former England forward.

“I have sympathy for Deano and his family because it affects them too,’ said Gomarsall.

“He’s a great character and is loved by the public massively.

“We were at a charity dinner a month ago and the welcome that he got was unique.

“It’s a very sad situation and I hope after the three years he will back in rugby.”

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