Retaining cup is not Richards’ priority

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Sudbury’s director of rugby Graham Richards has declared retaining the Suffolk Cup is not a priority as he looks to give some of his players a rest ahead of league action.

The Whittome Field outfit are still bouncing following their 15-14 top-two win over Cantabrigian on Saturday, which came down to a final penalty being missed by the Cambridge-based side.

But ahead of a break from London League Three North East action this weekend, when current holders Sudbury travel to Woodbridge in the Suffolk Cup quarter-finals, Richards has revealed he will use it to give some younger players a chance to stake their claim.

“I’ve said to the guys, we can’t afford to go to Beecles and trip up,” he said. “We have got to get our guys fit and we have got to manage the players now through the weekend’s Suffolk Cup game, which is not a priority for me anymore.

“It is not to belittle that (competition), but Dick and I will have a serious look at selection for Saturday.

“We will give some youngsters a game and we might have to look at possibly playing one or two different combinations, because of injuries, to take to Beccles the week after.”

He said he is still looking to very much win the game, but will ‘also be looking to blood a couple of players’.

He added: “We need to look after this cushion we have now (in the league) and our goal now is to go until Christmas unbeaten.”

After travelling to Beccles a fortnight Saturday, they host Great Yarmouth and Lowestoft on December 6, ahead of the traditional break for Christmas.

After bringing Scott Harries back to the club recently, Richards is set to be boosted by another familiar face at the club ahead of selecting his side to face Woodbridge in the quarter-final clash on Saturday.

Winger Matt Johnson has been training with the club having left to travel, giving another pacy option to the league leaders’ attack for the second half of the season.

“He is resigning for the club after playing at Shelford,” he said. “He can play anywhere in the back and has returned after picking up a cruciate knee ligament injury.”

Shaun Smith, another flying winger and the club’s talisman this season when it comes to tries, is set to have recovered from a hamstring in time for Sudbury’s first outing in the Suffolk Cup, though Richards may well choose to give him another week’s rest.

n Sudbury prop Thomas Amass (Hedingham School) was in the Eastern Counties under-16 squad which beat Essex 26-15 at Westcliff RFC.

Rhys-Connor Charalambous (West Norfolk) scored

two tries, Owen Sharp

(Wymondham) and Faisal Olabaye (Colchester) one each. Joe Milligan (Wymondham) landed three conversions.