Richards learns from Bloodgate

  • Last Updated: August 21 2012, 17:01 BST

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: Ready to start again at Newcastle

Richards harbours "huge regrets" over the fake injury scandal which erupted when he was in charge at Harlequins and he accepts there may be some people who can never forgive him.

Now the boss at Newcastle Falcons, Richards has lost none of his passion for the game and his desire to win - which is ultimately what landed him in trouble - still burns as fiercely as ever.

But Richards also feels wiser for the Bloodgate experience and he insists that competitiveness will be channelled in the right direction 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.

"If people want to say something, they can say something. I have done my three years.

"If they feel I should have got more (of a ban), then so be it. Some people feel I should have got a little bit less, so be it.

"I was given three years and I have done three years."

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.

Harlequins built on the foundations Richards put in place and last season they won the Aviva Premiership title for the first time in the club's history.

"I look at it with pleasure, for the guys to have won what they have won, in the manner they won it," Richards said.

"I was delighted for them. I was part of the (coaching) team that played a part.

"It took me about 20 minutes to miss being involved in rugby.

"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 you 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.

"The fact I was wanting to go to rugby shows I still have the appetite for the game."

Richards began rebuilding Harlequins following their relegation from the Premiership and his long-term goal is to re-produce that same success with Newcastle, who open their season against Bristol on September 2.

"It's my goal to (re-establish Newcastle as a rugby stronghold), whether it's in a year, two years, five years or whatever," Richards said.

"It is my goal and it is also the ambition of the owner, Semore Kurdi. The potential within the area is absolutely massive.

"When I signed for Newcastle they were bottom of the pile and I thought there was every chance they were going to go down.

"Here we are in the championship. It is a challenging place to be.

"I have been there before, I know what it is all about. You only need to have a slight off day and you will be taken to the cleaners - it is just like the Premiership."

During Harlequins' promotion-winning campaign, Richards instructed his players to buy their opposite number a beer after every match in a bid to establish a new culture at the club and he will adopt much the same attitude this time around.

"You can go through the season and be very disrespectful just thinking it is a job that has got to be done and not have much input," Richards added.

"But a lot of the boys will be going to places they have never visited before and they have never experienced the facilities, the crowds, the locations that we are going to do this year.

"You may as well go to these places and enjoy it and understand you are going there for a reason - to win a game - but you can go there and still enjoy yourself.

"I have always adopted that and hopefully we will have a bit of fun with the opposition as well."