A fearsome runner, he was one of the top number eights in the world, winning 48 England caps and six caps for the British Lions on two tours. He captained the Tigers for four seasons in the early-1990s. During his playing career he won the league twice and the cup three times, and was voted Whitbread's Rugby World player of the year in 1990/91. He played in the 1987, 1991 and 1995 World Cups. He led Leicester to their first Heineken Cup final against Brive, in the Old Arms Park, which they lost.
In 1988, after playing football with the Calcutta Cup along Princes Street in Edinburgh with Scotland's John Jeffrey Richards received a one match ban from the Rugby Football Union. Jeffrey received a stiffer six month ban from the Scottish Rugby Union.
Richards then took over and in his first full season as Director of Rugby won the Allied Dunbar Premiership, the third time in club history. The Tigers successfully defended the title for four years in a row under him. However his crowning glory as a coach has to be the back-to-back Heineken Cups that Tigers won, defeating Stade Francais in the Parc des Princes 34-30 and beating Munster 15-9 in Cardiff's Millennium Stadium.
But after two trophy-less seasons and a failure to get out of the pool in Europe, Richards was sacked in 2004. This ended a twenty year association with the club. His former back-row team-mate and assistant coach John Wells was chosen as his successor. Dean was deeply unhappy about this and asked the club for all his memorabilia back and for the club to rename the bar which was named after him. He was later appointed coach at French club Grenoble , this started out well but whilst fighting relegation he suffered a players' revolt on the way to play Toulouse away as a result of claimed mismangement by the Grenoble owner.
He was appointed Director of Rugby for Harlequins Rugby Football Club in 2005 following their relegation from the Zurich Premiership in the 2004-05 season, and led them back to the Premiership at the first attempt, in a season where they lost only one league game.
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