Richmond director of rugby Steve Hill had feared a mauling from Doncaster Knights on Saturday, but was left waxing lyrical over his side’s display.
Hill’s part-timers lost 36-19 to the fully professional National Division One league leaders having only trailed 14-9 at half time.
Despite then slipping 28-9 behind they rallied to score second half tries through fly half Rob Kirby and James Gethings.
“I am really proud of how the whole squad stood up to be counted,” said Hill, who handed a debut to on-loan England sevens star Callum Wilson ahead of try machine James Greenwood.
“Our physicality and commitment were tremendous and I thought our pack in particular showed huge tenacity.
“If we can play as well as this each week for the rest of the season we will win significantly more games than we lose.”
Richmond travel to Henley tomorrow.