Richards to have welcome headache

SELECTION DILEMMA: Sudbury head coach Graham Richards
SELECTION DILEMMA: Sudbury head coach Graham Richards

Graham Richards looks likely to face a selection dilemma as Sudbury bid to seal their London League Division Two North East promotion play-off spot at Norwich next week, writes Ken Watkins.

Sudbury Director of Rugby Richards expects to have 23 players available for selection. “If everyone’s fit for the game it’s going to be difficult to pick 18,” he said. “For the first time this year someone will be left out and not be very happy about it.”

Saffron Walden, who occupy the sole promotion spot, are eight points ahead of Sudbury, who hold a five-point lead over third-placed Diss, with two games to play. The team finishing second goes into a one-off play-off against the team finishing second in Division Two North West.

Their leaders, Fullerians hold a two-point advantage over Hammersmith and Fulham, who they beat 24-23 on Saturday, and have a game in hand.

Sudbury demolished strugglers Campion 67-19 on Saturday, having led 41-7 at half-time. Availability problems meant Sudbury fielded something of a makeshift front row, with Richards praising their performance.

“The two lads who played prop today did very well - Jack Todd who is only 19, and Tomo Barry who hasn’t played very much this season. Chris Whybrow went in there during the second half. We were struggling for a front row today, so those boys acquitted themselves very well,” he said.

“I thought we played some very good rugby in the first half, made the right choices, kept the ball better. We scored straight away in the second half and then thought we could play cavalier rugby. You can’t do that. We’ve got to learn from that.

“But it’s very difficult when you are so much in the ascendancy, and there are slightly bigger things on the players’ minds. Campion were better today than when we played them down there. After that early second-half try we got very complacent, gave Campion the opportunity to make territory and they scored a couple of tries.

“At the end, Campion were looking for a bonus-point try, but we moved to our normal self in defence, defended well and tackled hard. But we will have to be better in certain phases and facets of the game against Norwich in two weeks time.”