A 2001 Lions tourist has backed a Test star from the 1989 tour of Australia to bounce back from his recent disappointments.
Dorian West, who was called up as a replacement on the tour Down Under eight years ago, has spoken out about the three-year ban handed out to Dean Richards in the wake of the Bloodgate saga.
Former Harlequins boss Richards admitted instructing one of his players to fabricate a blood injury and then lied to the authorities in an attempt to cover up any wrongdoing.
But while critics have written off Richards’ chances of making a successful coaching comeback when his ban expires in 2012, Northampton forwards coach West believes the England legend will bounce back eventually.
"I’ve talked to him about it and I don’t think three years is too much to come back from," West told Martin Crowson of the Leicester Mercury.
"He has been involved in rugby all his life. Certain aspects of the game change from year to year, but it’s still the same game and the personalities are the same.
"He’s a good man manager, he knows what he is doing."
And West, who played under Richards during a hugely impressive spell at Leicester Tigers, hopes that the unsavoury incident will not cloud people’s opinions of everything Richards has achieved in the game.
"He did what he did and made a mistake," added West.
"But I think it’s unfair that people have been slagging him off. He’s more than paid the price.
"The fact that people questioned his integrity is more than enough punishment. He will be hurt by it.
"Anyone who knows him knows he would do anything to protect the people around him. He will put 100 per cent into making everyone better.
"He’s a good all round bloke and I think the game is worse off without him.”