Newcastle director of rugby Dean Richards criticises Ealing counterpart
Dean Richards: "If Ealing's primary concern is whether they can bridge the 18-point gap between our two teams to gain promotion, then that reflects very poorly on them considering everything else going on in the world right now."
Last Updated: 22/03/20 9:18pm
Newcastle Falcons director of rugby Dean Richards has criticised his Ealing Trailfinders counterpart for making "distasteful" comments about taking legal advice following the suspension of the Greene King IPA Championship.
The Rugby Football Union (RFU) have launched a review and vowed to ensure "fair and balanced outcomes" after cancelling all competitive rugby in England except for the Gallagher Premiership due to the coronavirus pandemic.
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Newcastle were top of the table having won all 15 of their Championships matches this season. Ealing were 18 points behind, having played one match fewer than the league leaders.
In a cover story for The Rugby Paper, Ealing director of rugby Ben Ward said: "We are taking counsel at the moment from a legal perspective as to what our position is."
Richards has reacted furiously following the publication of the article, insisting Newcastle can no longer keep quiet despite the RFU promising to deliver more clarity on the situation in April.
"At a time of national crisis we should be focusing all our attention on helping the most vulnerable, both within our own organisations and in wider society, rather than instructing legal representation," Richards said.
"Difficult decisions have to be made in these unprecedented times, when people's lives and livelihoods are being lost.
"If Ealing's primary concern is whether they can bridge the 18-point gap between our two teams to gain promotion, then that reflects very poorly on them considering everything else going on in the world right now.
"Instead of spending money on legal counsel we will be directing it to those who need it most, and while Ealing might point out that their game in hand is against the bottom club in Yorkshire Carnegie, it should be considered that we also have a home game against Yorkshire Carnegie as one of our seven remaining matches.
"We have won all 15 of our league games this season, beating every single team in the division, including a bonus-point victory away to Ealing in a match which saw them gaining no points in the standings.
"Ealing, meanwhile, have lost two and drawn one of their 14 games in the league despite having played a game less than us, and their remaining eight fixtures would have seen them playing against the two teams who have already defeated them - ourselves and Cornish Pirates.
"We fully appreciate that having an RFU review to decide the outcome of the season is not a perfect situation, but these are not perfect times.
"Anyone with any sense of reason or fairness can see what should happen, but rather than using the pages of a national publication to discuss legal action we will just allow this process to reach a logical conclusion.
"There are more important focuses for our attention and resources at this incredibly testing time, which makes Ealing's public position all the more distasteful."