After what feels like a lifetime, it feels so good to be able to pen a welcome for the Reds’ programme once again. But if there was any further testimony needed to the strange times in which we live, I never thought I would be presenting a ‘home’ game being played at the RAG!
On that point, I would like to thank Peter, John and the other board members at Richmond for being so quick to offer up support as soon as it became clear that we would not be in a position to host home-games for at least the first half of the season. The spirit of co-operation and camaraderie is what makes the Championship so special and it is much appreciated.
Last week saw us take on Saracens and while the score was not flattering to us, the Reds’ performance was very positive and will stand us in good stead for the balance of this shortened season. We have a lot of new faces in the squad and they are really starting to gel together nicely.
It has been a lot of hard work just to get us to this point and I would like to thank all the players, player support staff and our operational staff for the amazing amount of innovation they have had to show just to enable the team to be able to train and play. I would also like to acknowledge and thank the Government of Jersey for its guidance and support, which has enabled us to participate.
Another huge thank-you goes out to our members who subscribed and bought their season tickets as a way of providing financial support for the club.
Finally, without the support of our incredible corporate sponsors, this season would not have been possible for us. They have stood right with us even knowing there might be little to enjoy in terms of live matches. We will be forever grateful to all of them.
Hopefully you will be streaming the game and if so - enjoy!
Come on you Reds!
It is a pleasure to welcome our old friends and rivals Jersey Reds to the Richmond Athletic Ground for our third game in this year’s reduced Greene King IPA Championship season.
As a Jersey home match we are delighted to be in a position to offer the RAG and its facilities to the Jersey players, coaches and staff. We will make sure they feel at home during their stay and look forward to an exciting fixture. The Richmond squad has now played two matches against full-time teams and we are an improving side ready for a very competitive fixture against Jersey this afternoon.
It is a great shame that the club must remain closed to both set of supporters today. We will miss the usual lunch and the opportunity to hear Mark “Radio” Morgan’s pre-match views. We are excited to be back in the Championship and we look forward to travelling to Jersey next season and enjoying the very welcoming hospitality and friendship.
Director of Rugby
I am not sure when Richmond and Jersey were last seeking their first win of the season in March, but that is one of the many strange scenarios this season has thrown up. Both teams have been given a tough start to the season and are having to adapt quickly to a truncated preseason and the many COVID-related challenges that need to be overcome.
Last Saturday against Pirates, Richmond showed considerable improvement from the loss the previous week at Hartpury. The Pirates scrum, so dominant, if doubtfully legal, against Saracens the week before, was handled well and our defensive lineouts bore considerable fruit. Frustratingly, a couple of strong opportunities to score went begging. We are learning very quickly that those opportunities do not come as often as in National 1 and must be taken.
A couple of different combinations were tried and went well. In particular it was really pleasing to see flanker Hamish Barton and full back Will Kaye both have strong games in their first starts for Richmond.
We know Jersey will be a very tough test. When last in the Championship we had some cracking battles against the Reds and I am sure this afternoon will yet again see both sides give their all.
Richmond come into the match against Jersey on the back of two defeats. However, they come into it with confidence following a much improved performance against a powerful Cornish Pirates side who were still buzzing following their sensational victory over the three-time European champion Saracens.
In 2019-20, Richmond were enjoying a good season and were top of National League 1 when the season was cut short. When it was decided that the remaining fixtures could not be played, immediate promotion back to the Championship was confirmed.
Richmond and Jersey crossed paths four times in the previous season as they were drawn in the same pool of the ‘Championship Cup’. However, things didn’t go well for Richmond… losing all four matches and they will look to seek revenge against Jersey this weekend.
The 2018/19 season was the fifth season the clubs had been in the same league over the past two decades:
In 2002/03, Richmond were champions of London 3 South-West (level 7), defeating the Reds 3-32 at St Peter and 30-13 at the RAG as part of a run of 83 successive league wins.
In 2010/11 it was Jersey who gained promotion, from National Two South – honours between the two sides finished even, with Jersey winning 29-9 at St Peter having lost 25-14 at the RAG.
Fixtures between the two sides book-ended the 2016/17 season. In September 2016, Jersey scored seven tries at the RAG on the opening day of the season and won 16-41; the Easter return fixture was a closer-run affair, with Ross Adair’s 77th-minute interception sealing a 28-17 victory for the home team.
In 2017/18, the Reds were well-beaten at the RAG during the early weeks of the season, the Londoners winning 23-14 on home turf; each side registered a brace of converted tries, but Rob Kirby’s three penalties made the difference. Kirby also landed three penalties in the most recent encounter at Stade Santander in January this year, but the Reds emerged narrowly victorious by 10-9 thanks to an early try by Nick Selway and a 74th-minute try by scrum-half Kieran Hardy after the scrum-half charged down an attempted clearance and was first to the loose ball.
Meet the opposition
Captain Cameron Mitchell continues to impress in the midfield for Richmond. With 118 first-team caps to his name, Mitchell has now played 22 consecutive league fixtures, playing every minute of every match. His leadership continues to shine and his defensive pressure remains amongst the strongest in the squad. Last season in National 1, Mitchell scored 10 tries from outside centre, leading his side to immediate promotion back to the Championship. In a young Richmond back-line he provides experience and class and will prove a handful in attack and defence for any opposition.
The former Exeter University and Old Elthamians lock joined Richmond in the off-season and has made an immediate impact in his first season in old gold, red and black, starting both fixtures and providing firepower and height to the pack and lineout. Standing at 6ft 8, ‘Big Fred’, testifies to having the longest shins in World Rugby, and uses his height and power to dominate in attack and defence. With the potential to form a formidable second-row force with fellow club locks Alex Bibic, Byron Hodge, Sam Collingridge and Max Crawford, Hosking is bound to continue improving in a Richmond shirt as he gains more Championship experience. He is relishing the opportunity to face a powerful Jersey pack today.