Richards sees Beccles as banana skin

Sudbury Rugby Club's Whittome Field
Sudbury Rugby Club's Whittome Field

Graham Richards is set to make up to 10 changes for Saturday’s return to league action at Beccles (3pm).

But he has warned his league leaders it is a potential banana skin they must not slip up on.

Frazer Beckett has returned after signing for Cambridge at the start of the season and is set to be one of the few players to retain their place from the side who professionally dispatched lower-league Woodbridge on Saturday, despite a spirited effort from their hosts.

But with eighth-placed Beccles having won four out of five of their home games, compared to having lost all four of their away games, Richards knows it will not be the easy test the seven places between them in the London League Three North East table suggests.

“It is a potential banana skin as they are difficult to beat up there, particularly when it gets wet on their pitch,” he said. “It is something we do not want to trip over on.

“If we do win, it sets us up nicely for our last home game before the break, with Lowestoft and Great Yarmouth, but our focus is on Beccles on Saturday.”

And despite Beccles’ last league result being a 22-13 defeat at Old Brentwoods, a side Sudbury won 38-14 at a month ago, the Blues’ director of rugby does not expect to face the same side as produced that latest result.

“Their (Beccles’) director of rugby is involved with the Eastern Counties Under-16s, who were at Sudbury recently, and he said people do not travel, added Richards. “If that was me, I would not pick them, but they seem to there.

“Their victories have been at home, but we are going there with a fairly strong side and we are expecting to win.”

Sudbury’s only absentees are set to be prop Alex Pears (chest/shoulder) and winger Shaun Smith (hamstring), while scrum-half Scott Harries will be assessed at training tonight.

Richards was pleased with his much-changed side’s second-half display at Woodbridge, having gone into the break at 5-5 after being dragged into a scrap.