Much to learn for Richmond despite opening day victory

More to learn: Richmond coach Steve Hill says his side must still improve despite winning their opening day fixture over Wharfedale

More to learn: Richmond coach Steve Hill says his side must still improve despite winning their opening day fixture over Wharfedale

First published in Sport Wimbledon Guardian: Photograph of the Author by , Sports editor

Richmond director of rugby Steve Hill had a stinging message for this team despite a 34-24 opening day win over perennial National One side Wharfedale last Saturday.

Hill’s charges took the points, plus a bonus point, from the win at the Athletic Ground, but the fact Wharfedale were allowed to walk away with a losing bonus point angered the boss.

Lapses of concentration and a mindset mired in last season were the reasons behind the needless concession of tries, Hill said.

And although Richmond had won the game, it was Wharfedale, stalwarts of 16 successive seasons in the league, who appeared the happier at the final whistle.

Hill said: “We started very well and were about to go into half-time 20-0 ahead, but a lack of concentration allowed them two tries in the final moments and 20-12 is a very different story to 20-0.

“The same happened in the second half. We got to 34-12 ahead but, once again, conceded late tries and gifted Wharfedale a losing bonus point when we should have been sending them back with nothing.

“Maybe the players thought that, as a result of spending the past two seasons playing rugby at level four, oppositions would not come back at them, but teams in this division are different. Wharfedale continued to play even though all seemed lost.

“At the end of the game, Wharfedale looked happier than us because they got a bonus point they were not expecting. We had won a first game in a new division, but we were left frustrated.

“I hope it will be a very good lesson for us. I’ve said all along we are going to have to learn very quickly in this division and this is certainly a lesson that needs attention.”

In Saturday’s win, James Greenwood bagged a brace of tries, while Will Browne, Julian Thompson and Tom Gregory also went over. Tom Platt added three conversions and a penalty.

Richmond travel to old foes Old Albanians on Saturday. The pair know each other after both were promoted from National League Two last year.

Hill said: “It will be a tough test – they pipped us to the title last year. They had a difficult fixture at Tynedale [38-22] on Saturday and they will be keen to get their game up and running and we are very keen to make sure they don’t.”

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