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Banned Dean Richards heads for the stands

By Chris Jones
England's Dean Richards, Dewi Morris and Martin Bayfield Carried off by fans after winning the Grand Slam (Photo by Phil O'Brien/EMPICS via Getty Images)

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Harlequins fans will be joined by a famous face in the stands at the Twickenham Stoop tomorrow night as Dean Richards, the Newcastle director of rugby, endures another Gallagher Premiership match that sees him banned from any contact with the team following his disciplinary sanction for comments about match officials.

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Dave Walder, the Falcons coach, is now in charge of match day preparations and revealed Richards joined the Kingston Park crowd in the South Stand to watch the 20-15 loss to Bath and his boss will be in at the Twickenham Stoop, where he was formerly director or rugby, as a fan not the leader of the management group.

Richards collected a three match ban which bars him from involvement with the team for the Premiership games against Bath, Harlequins and Saracens. Richards, who made his comments after the home defeat to Exeter Chiefs, was also directed to conduct a presentation to his club, and a local school or grassroots club, about the need for respect for match officials.

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His ban comes at a difficult time for Falcons who are enduring an injury crisis that has now added Argentina centre Matais Moroni to the list after he was concussed against Bath. Falcons are on a run of six Premiership defeats in 2022 and now have to deal with reigning Premiership champions Harlequins under lights tomorrow night and then former champions Saracens.

Newcastle’s most recent “victory” in Gallagher Premiership Rugby was when they were declared winners at home to Sale on Boxing Day, their last “genuine” win was 15-14 at Exeter on 6 November. Since then, they have won just once away from home in any competition – 17-13 at Biarritz in the European Challenge Cup on 14 January.

Walder said: “Home games are different for Dean and I understand he watched our Bath game from the South Stand in amongst the punters and quite enjoyed it getting a different angle about what was going on. We didn’t see him on match day but knew he was there and while he won’t travel down with the team to Harlequins he will be there.

“The majority of what happens on game day is down to me and the other coaches and Dean looks at the bigger picture and we didn’t have him the box against Bath to challenge us as he normally does.

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“Matias Orlando has a concussion and won’t make it for the Quins game and there are a couple of other knocks and we hope those players will come through. That was Matias’s second bang of the season and his has been very unlucky. He plays and trains tough and ironically Matais called a play thought would work and he ended up running into a double tackle.”

Walder paid tribute to the impact former Harlequins favourite Mike Brown has made at Newcastle this season and confirmed the former England full back will be leaving at the end of the season. Brown is understood to be hoping to find another Premiership club to join before he becomes a player agent.” Browny is not with us next year and that is a decision he and Dean came to: “added Walder. “He has been great for us and been very challenging in a professional way and opened people’s eyes about how to keep fit and prepare yourself for games.

“He is very competitive and that has been an eye opener for some of our guys and has sat down with the back three and one of the reasons Adam Radwan has kicked on as he has is down to playing alongside Browny and talking to him in the week.”

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