Dean Richards vowed he will never cross the line again as he prepares to return to rugby after serving a three-year Bloodgate ban.
Richards harbours “huge regrets” over the fake injury scandal which erupted when he was in charge at Harlequins and he accepts some people may never forgive him.
Now the boss at Newcastle Falcons, Richards’ desire to win burns as fiercely as ever. But he also feels wiser for the Bloodgate experience and he insists competitiveness will be channelled in the right ways as he plots Newcastle’s RFU Championship campaign.
“I have huge regrets and I would never, ever do the same thing again,” said Richards, whose worldwide suspension expired on Sunday.
“In terms of personality, I have the same ambitions to win things and the same passion. Nothing has changed in terms of my appetite and what I want out of the game. I want to win things and that won’t change at all.
“But I have huge regrets. I understand exactly where the boundaries lie and I would never step over them again.”
Richards was banned for masterminding the Bloodgate scandal, when Tom Williams bit on a joke shop blood capsule in order to engineer a substitution in Harlequins’ Heineken Cup quarter-final against Leinster.
“It took me about 20 minutes to miss being involved in rugby,” said Richards.
“It has been your life for 20-odd years and you have it taken away and you miss it straight away. But you serve your three years and get straight back into it and it makes you realise what you have missed.
“In the first year I didn’t go and watch a rugby game other than the Quins-Wasps Big Game here at Twickenham.
“Last year, I was watching games virtually every weekend, whether Premiership or Championship, not as preparation but because I love the game.”
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