Left field

The Reuters global sports blog

Rugby union’s black summer


It has been a black summer for rugby as the game that likes to claim the moral high ground in matters sporting has been exposed as being perfectly able get down in the gutter with the best of them.

On Saturday Dean Richards, a former policeman and stoic rugby stalwart for three decades, resigned as director of rugby at Harlequins in the wake of the London club’s shenanigans in their Heineken Cup quarter-final defeat by Leinster last season.

Tom Williams was banned for 12 months for faking a blood injury when he spat out a gush of bright red liquid – his fate all but sealed by a sit-com wink to the bench captured in all its dumb glory by TV cameras.

Quins were also fined 215,000 pounds for  their role in the incident Рor their refusal to co-operate fully in the subsequent investigation Рand Heineken Cup officials have appealed against Richards and club medical staff being cleared of any wrong-doing.