Dean Richards reveals how England ‘cheated’ to win World Cup in 2003 - Ruck

Dean Richards reveals how England ‘cheated’ to win World Cup in 2003

England great and current Newcastle boss Dean Richards has claimed the national team used fake blood to help them win the 2003 Rugby World Cup.

He first made his assertion in a confidential meeting with the Rugby Football Union at the time of the Bloodgate crisis 10 years ago.

“The use of fake blood, cutting players, re-opening wounds, feigning injury in the front row, jabbing players with anesthetic all occur regularly throughout the game,” Richards said in the report but insisted he had only been involved in using fake blood.

Richards was asked for examples and listed seven, including: “RWC 2003. England used faked blood [did not know whether capsule or cut by someone in medical team] to manage replacements.”

When asked how he knew, Richards indicated he was informed by a person in the England squad.

England’s 2003 Rugby World Cup head coach Sir Clive Woodward has responded to the accusation, branding it “absolute nonsense”.

“We won every match in Australia,” he said. “Why would we want to cheat? This is simply not true. I am not sure why Dean raised this. I have never been involved in anything like this. It is ridiculous.”

The 5 players Woodward cut from his 2003 World Cup squad

The dreaded call sign flashed up on the mobile phones (if they had them in 2003) of five England players in 2003 as they were the final players cut from Sir Clive Woodward’s 2003 Rugby World Cup squad.

The tournament began with host nation Australia defeating Argentina 24–8 at Stadium Australia in Sydney. Australia went on to defeat New Zealand 22–10 in the semi-final, to play England in the final.

Along with a try to Jason Robinson, Jonny Wilkinson kicked four penalties and then a drop-goal in extra time to win the game 20–17 for England, who became the first northern hemisphere team to win the Webb Ellis Cup.

Here, we remember the unlucky group of players who missed out on England’s triumph down under, although some did join the squad later.

1. Austin Healey

The versatile joined the squad in Australia as injury cover, however he was never officially added to the squad after players recovered from knocks, meaning he was unable to pick up a medal for the success despite flying out. No wonder he’s still bitter about it.

Where is he now? Working as pundit/co-commentator for BT Sport’s excellent rugby coverage