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Richards facing possible sanction after ripping into officials in TV interview

By Ian Cameron
Dean Richards /Getty

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Newcastle director of rugby Dean Richards has accused Gallagher Premiership officials of favouritism following Falcons’ narrow loss to Exeter Chiefs at Kingston Park.


Newcastle, who were reeling from the news today of the death of former coach Steve ‘Blackie’ Black, lost by a single point to Exeter Chiefs, who secured a 15 – 14 win with a late Joe Simmonds penalty.

In a post-match pitchside interview with Martin Bayfield, a relatively resigned Richards, said that a lot his players were questioning the decisions of the referee and his officials.

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The former England backrow could now face an RFU disciplinary panel over his comments, in which he suggested the officials were either biased or didn’t know what they were doing.

“We didn’t get the rub of the green from the officials.

“The boys in the changing room are saying some of the decisions were questionable. Some are a little more vocal than that.

“Adam Brocklebank gets penalised in a scrum when their tighthead goes to the floor quite clearly. You just think, what the hell is going on here?”


“There’s obviously a bit of favouritism in some way, shape or form or they don’t know what they’re doing. The boys don’t know what’s happening from one week to the next.

“The officiating sometimes is really disappointing.

Falcons were on the wrong side of the penalty count, but it was the red card for Callum Chick that really infuriated Richards.

“You look at the Callum Chick thing. Josh Hodge clearly drops his height, and it’s not by a couple of inches. It’s six or eight inches.


“From that, it goes to a yellow card rather than a red card, if he drops his height. There was no looking at X, Y… ‘Was it clear? Well that’s what it is, then that’s the decision, red card, then off he goes’.

“In critical decisions like that you’ve got to get it right and they don’t. At this moment in time [Chick red card] they make a really quick decision and I think they’ve got it wrong.

“We were just disappointed with officiating on the day. We will look at it very closely. You get penalised for going across on the lineout and it’s never straight. Make them throw in straight and it wouldn’t be a problem, would it.

“Just very, very disappointed,” concluded the 58-year-old.

He later doubled down on the comments on Newcastle Falcons’ website [and in the post match press conference], where he further bemoaned the speed at which crucial decisions are being made: “One of the issues we’re having at the moment is they’re trying to get to a really quick decision, rather than the correct decision. I would have accepted a yellow card, but you can’t make such a critical decision in such a big game as this, as quickly as they did. I thought it was really poor from them.

“You need to take the time to make the decision correctly, but they don’t want to spend time on TMO decisions. When you’re playing with people’s livelihoods and careers, you can’t do that, and they were barking up the wrong tree. They just haven’t got it right at the moment, and it’s all about the speed of the decision rather than getting it right.”


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