Newcastle: Dean Richards plays down Harlequins reunion

Newcastle director of rugby Dean Richards

Director of rugby Dean Richards places no extra significance on Newcastle's game with Harlequins this Sunday.

It will be the first time Richards has faced Quins since departing in 2009 after a well-publicised blood scandal.

He was handed a three-year coaching ban for his role in orchestrating a fake blood injury that allowed full-back Tom Williams to be replaced by Nick Evans.

"It's nearly five years since all that happened and everything just passes by," Richards told BBC Newcastle.

In a Heineken Cup game with Leinster, Quins had used all their substitutions and wanted to bring on a more experienced goal-kicker.

So the replacement could be made as a result of a blood injury, a blood capsule was used so that it appeared Williams had been cut.

This weekend, the Falcons will face a team containing the backbone of a side assembled by Richards during his four years at the Stoop, having taken over following their relegation from the Premiership - much like

The Quins starting XV in contained 10 players from Richards' time in charge, including both Williams and Evans.

"My relationship with Harlequins remains just fine and I still know quite a lot of people there," he commented

"But there is no more emotion attached to the game. If we were playing Leicester [with whom he spent 22 years as player and coach] then I'd give you a different answer.

"Quins are a good side that has barely changed for eight years. We're evolving and can hopefully replicate that continuity."