Guinness Premiership
Quins coach bites back at "rich" reaction
August 27, 2009

Harlequins' acting head coach John Kingston has described the reaction to 'bloodgate' as "a bit rich" considering the club's on-field performance last season.

Kingston has stepped in to the hole left by Dean Richards, who was handed a three-year coaching ban for his part in the scheme that saw winger Tom Williams fake a blood injury in last April's Heineken Cup quarter-final against Leinster.

Still licking their wounds after a £260,000 fine, Quins yesterday released a statement detailing their belief that they had "behaved appropriately" during the appeals process, a sentiment echoed by Kingston despite rumblings that further sanctions await the club in the wake of their attempt to cover up the scandal.

Expulsion from the Heineken Cup and Rugby Football Union could reportedly befall Quins if European Rugby Cup (ERC) officials wish to further review the punishment handed to the club.

"Talk that we could be thrown out of the Heineken Cup is totally hypothetical because we've earned the right to be in the Heineken Cup," Kingston said. "We've qualified for the Heineken Cup and are playing in it.

"Last season we showed ourselves to be highly competitive in the Heineken Cup, losing by a point to the winners [Leinster]. We flew the flag for England. I think it's sad that a few months later, after just once incident, people are not even countenancing how well the team performed last season.

"This is a side that scored 100 tries, was second best team in the Premiership, played thrilling rugby and entertained Europe with the gargantuan games we played against the likes of Stade Francais. The players are the same, the coaches are the same and I think it's a bit rich frankly when people's perception emanates from that one incident.

"What we have to do now is concentrate on getting back to playing rugby. It's for other people to comment if we've been victimised but I'm certainly disappointed about the nature of the publicity that has come about."

Kingston also lamented the resignation of Richards, attempting to offer an explanation of the former England No.8's actions.

"From a personal and professional perspective it's very upsetting that Dean is no longer at the club," he said. "I'm very upset about that because he was of huge assistance to me and our relationship was a very good one over the four years he was at the club.

"I'm saddened if people feel the reputation of rugby has taken a knock with all the incidents that have gone on. But it's a very hard, competitive world and a very physical sport. Therefore there will be times when people do transgress slightly, be it physical actions that take place on the field or whatever."


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