Mike Phillips & 5 More Infamous Rugby Exits

Danny Coyle@dannyjpcoyleFeatured ColumnistOctober 29, 2013

Mike Phillips & 5 More Infamous Rugby Exits

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    Wales and Lions scrum half Mike Phillips found himself out of a job this week when his club, Top 14 side Bayonne, booted him out for allegedly turning up to a video analysis session under the influence of alcohol.

    The No. 9 has already declared his intention to fight the termination of his contract through the French legal system to avoid becoming the latest entrant to rugby’s hall of shame, where he will be keeping some reasonably high-profile company, as our list of five other rugby sackings demonstrates.

Henson's Mile-High Horror Show

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    Tango-tinged Welshman Gavin Henson was axed by Cardiff Blues in 2012 after causing a rumpus on a flight home from Glasgow with the squad.

    Henson admitted to being a little the worse for wear after drinking in Glasgow following a Friday night 31-3 thrashing by the Warriors, and continuing to booze on the 7 a.m. flight.

    Henson issued an apology, but his contract was swiftly ripped up by the Welsh region and he also copped a six-month ban from the airline, Flybe.

    Henson next joined London Welsh, but following their relegation, he signed for Bath, where controversy soon resurfaced surrounding the centre when CCTV cameras captured him being laid out by a team-mate in a bar.


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    Quins director of rugby Dean Richards actually fell on his sword before being shown the door in the biggest scandal to hit rugby in the UK since it went professional.

    Richards took responsibility for the plot to fake a blood injury for winger Tom Williams using a blood capsule.

    The move was designed to get fly-half Nick Evans back on the field for the "bleeding" Williams after having already been replaced in order to try and kick the winning points in their Heineken Cup quarter-final clash with Leinster.

    Evans couldn’t manage it and Quins lost the match, but they would go on to lose a whole lot more when the scam was unraveled.

    Richards, the club physiotherapist Steph Brennan (who bought the capsule from a Clapham joke shop) and club doctor Wendy Chapman (who cut Williams’ lip after the game to cover up the ruse) were all found guilty of their involvement and left the club.

    Brennan subsequently overturned a decision to have him struck off, while Chapman was suspended by the General Medical Council but avoided being struck off

    Williams' initial 12-month ban was reduced to four after he helped investigators to uncover the deception.

    Richards was handed a three-year ban by the European governing body and is now back as boss at Newcastle Falcons.

The Bath Three

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    Alex Crocket, Andrew Higgins and Michael Lipman terminated their own contracts with Bath in 2009 after allegedly refusing to take a drug test following allegations of drug-taking.

    The scandal broke when Bath's Australian second Row Justin Harrison was reported to have made quips over the microphone of the Bath team bus about taking Class A substances.

    A group of Bath players was then involved in a fracas with some Harlequins players in a London pub.

    Harrison admitted to taking cocaine, retired quickly after the incident and was banned for eight months, but the English trio denied avoiding the tests the club asked them to carry out, having quit before the club’s own internal hearing was set to take place.

    That didn’t wash with an RFU panel, who banned them each for nine months. Crockett and Lipman both appealed their bans unsuccessfully.

Wasps Call Time at the Bar on Powell

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    Wales and Lions No. 8 Andy Powell left Wasps by mutual consent following an investigation into a bar brawl that left him bloodied and bruised in 2011.

    The former Cardiff Blues star was in the Walkabout bar in Shepherd’s Bush with England prop Tim Payne when a fight with a group of Queen’s Park Rangers football supporters turned ugly and Powell was left needing treatment to a serious head wound.

    It came hot on the heels of a driving ban and release from the Blues for Powell after he was caught drunkenly driving a golf buggy down the M4 following a Six Nations match in 2010.


Bum Steer for Mason

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    Huddersfield Giants rugby league star Keith Mason was sacked by the Super League club after a picture of a team-mate Scott Moore’s backside appeared on his Twitter feed.

    The 31-year-old was sent packing on grounds of gross misconduct.

    Mason, who had three years left on his contract at the time of his sacking, took the Giants to the High Court for wrongful dismissal and won £146,000 in damages.