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'I'm proud': Richards' first post-Newcastle gig is quite poignant

By Liam Heagney
Dean Richards, Newcastle GettyImages-1401051393 (1)

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Ex-Newcastle boss Dean Richards has landed himself his first coaching opportunity since quitting the Falcons after ten years as their director of rugby. The former England No8 stepped away from the Gallagher Premiership coalface at the end of the 2021/22 season in June.

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There was speculation at the time that Richards would remain on as a part-time consultant but nothing has yet been confirmed by Newcastle. In the meantime, he had been linked to the Danny Wilson vacancy at Glasgow Warriors which Franco Smith has now filled after a standoff with the Italian federation over a contract break was resolved

To keep his hand in, though, Richards has agreed to be the head coach for the latest fund-raising match involving the Matt Ratana Marauders XV, the team founded in honour of the former policeman who was tragically killed in the line of duty in 2020. 

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Richards well knows the policing life as he was formerly a police officer himself before moving into full-time rugby back in the 1990s. He also joined the resilience unit of the Northumbria Police during the 2020 lockdown to assist in the preparation of hundreds of pieces of personal protective equipment for use by front-line officers

Richards will now be at London Irish Amateur RFC on August 20 to coach the Ratana Marauders in their game against an England Police XV. In a message published on social media by the Ratana Foundation, Richards said: “It’s a great honour to be the head coach of the Matt Ratana Marauders XV for our match against England Police XV.

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“I was saddened by what happened to Matt and, as a former police officer, have been deeply moved by the creation of the Matt Ratana Rugby Foundation in his name and with his values. I am proud to support the foundation.

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“Matt’s evident enthusiasm for rugby and his love of life is apparent from the testimony of his family and friends. Through the foundation and in Matt’s memory we can help others through the sport Matt loved so much and ensure Matt has a lasting legacy.

“I’m very much looking forward to the matches and entertainment on Saturday, August 20, at Hazelwood the home of London Irish training centre and London Irish Amateur RFC in Sunbury-on-Thames. It will be another wonderful occasion and I hope to see many of our rugby community, families and other supporters down there to enjoy the action.”

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