Richards' bloodgate ban was savage, says lawyer

THE LAWYER representing shamed Dean Richards has broken the silence on the former Harlequins&rsquo; rugby director&rsquo;s three-year ban, describing the punishment as &ldquo;savage&rdquo; and &ldquo;excessive&rdquo;.<br /><br />Richards was banned from any form of coaching by Heineken Cup organisers, the European Rugby Cup, for his part in the now infamous &lsquo;bloodgate&rsquo; scandal which has cast a shadow over the game.<br /><br />But lawyer Mark Gay says Richards&rsquo; offence pales in comparison to Schalk Burger&rsquo;s eye-gauging of Luke Fitzgerald during the British Lions&rsquo; tour in June, which led to the South African receiving an eight-week ban.<br /><br />Gay admits Richards is &ldquo;reflecting&rdquo; on his next course of action amid reports he may take the ERC to the High Court, and agrees the former England No8 may have a case. <br /><br />&ldquo;I think it is excessive in the context. You have to look at what the offence was,&rdquo; Gay said when comparing the two incidents. <br /><br />&ldquo;What the player was involved with was feigning injury and to my mind, feigning injury is less serious than causing injury and Schalk Burger got eight weeks for gouging. <br /><br />He added: &ldquo;It&rsquo;s a very savage sanction, disproportionate, and really is one which in all conscience, ERC should not have imposed.&rdquo;