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Gloucester Rugby: Cherry and Whites deny any contact with Dean Richards

By The Citizen  |  Posted: March 21, 2014

Dean Richards claimed he was approached about a job at Gloucester

GLOUCESTER have vehemently denied there has been any approach to Dean Richards to become director of rugby at Kingsholm.

The England and Leicester Tigers legend, currently at the helm at Newcastle Falcons, was linked to the position currently held by Nigel Davies at the Cherry and Whites earlier this month.

At a supporters forum in Newcastle on Tuesday night Richards claimed to have received a phone call asking about his interest in a potential position at the club this summer which he declined.

But Gloucester have denied there has been any contact with the former Leicester, Grenoble and Harlequins director of rugby, who was banned for three seasons following his involvement in the infamous ‘bloodgate’ scandal at the London club in 2009.

A Gloucester spokesman said: “There has been absolutely no contact between Gloucester, or any individual acting upon the club’s behalf, and Dean Richards.”

It is understood that while Richards may have received a phone call regarding the position, it was made by an individual with no official association or influence at the club, and Davies has the full backing of the board.

Davies recently presented an in-depth strategic plan for the future success of Gloucester to the board which received unanimous approval.

The former Wales centre has one more season remaining on his contract in the West Country and will next year possess a squad which is truly his own.

Twenty-five players were set to come out of contract at the end of the current campaign and while Davies has retained the majority of his stars, he has also secured the services of international quartet John Afoa, Richard Hibbard, Mariano Galarza and Greig Laidlaw.

It is also understood that Richards also remains under contract at Kingston Park, meaning any move would result in Gloucester having to pay out the final years of two contracts.

With Davies possessing the support of board and directing the ongoing recruitment drive it is extremely unlikely that any changes will be made at the helm of the coaching staff.

Davies will pit his wits against Richards on Saturday as Newcastle visit Kingsholm following a 21-day break between games.

Gloucester have been boosted by the return of their England trio this week and Ben Morgan and Jonny May are both expected to feature from the bench, while Billy Twelvetrees continues to be assessed due to a knee infection.

Gloucester forwards coach Andrew Stanley said: “They could potentially go back in –- all three are keen to be involved and get back with the boys after a good experience with England.

“Injuries or knocks may be an issue but they are raring to go.

“The medical staff are taking an assessment of where Billy is at the moment. But the main thing is he’s delighted to be back here.

“We will cross any bridge (with regards to injury) when we come to it but at the moment we are settling them back into everyday life with Gloucester.”

Ryan Mills is also back following his knee injury, and is likely to pull on the number 10 jersey, but the encounter has come a week to soon for Tom Savage and Lua Lokotui.

The Cherry and Whites edged to 22-16 victory the last time the two sides met in league action and Stanley reckons his charges will thrive following the break.

He added: “Ryan is back fit and available for selection which is a bonus for us. He’s recovered well from the knock he picked up and played a full part in training.

“He’s been unfortunate with injuries this season but every time he is involved he’s gone from strength to strength.

“Tom’s not far away and neither is Lua Lokotui, they’re both very close and have taken varying parts in training and are days rather than weeks away.

“The boys had a rest in that initial week, went away and recharged their batteries – it’s a time to recover physically and mentally.

“Last week was a very good and tough week, and we’ve built up nicely this week.

“We’ve talked about putting in positive performances in all of the remaining games, we’re looking to win and push on. The target is to win all of the games or as many as possible.

“Newcastle are a side that are constantly improving , the results they had against Leicester and Northampton showed how far they have come and how they are used to life in the Premiership again.

“We certainly won’t be taking them lightly and they will offer stern opposition.

“They contest hard around the tackle area, they are difficult to breakdown defensively and they are very physical, we are under no illusions as to where we have to stand up to them.”

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