Survival is the goal for Richards

Latest sport news from the Suffolk Free Press,, @sfpsudbury on Twitter
Latest sport news from the Suffolk Free Press,, @sfpsudbury on Twitter

Finishing above the bottom three relegation places is the sole target Graham Richards has set his young Sudbury Rugby Club side.

With a host of injury problems ahead of their season opener at home to promoted Wymondham on Saturday (3pm), with four props out, head coach Richards says he has to be realistic about what they can achieve.

Suds ended last season third from bottom in London League Three North East, but were handed a relegation reprieve after only one side went down due to a cascade effect of relegated sides higher up in the pyramid.

“I just think we need to be in a better position that last year and this is a new team and we are rebuilding,” said Richards, who came in at the end of pre-season last year.

“If we are clear of a relegation dogfight next March that will be success, in light of the last few years.

“We can then continue to build with them as a base and I think in a couple of years time this team will be quite good.

“Is that lacking ambition? No, it is reality.”

With stalwarts Mark Bolton and Richard Lorking having retired, the only other player above the age of 30, prop and club captain Alex Pears, is cursing his luck after twisting the same ankle he broke and spent 18 months on the sidelines with.

Tighthead prop Sam Cunning (unavailable Saturday), 18-year-old second or back row Harry Watkins and number eight George Murray, with Richards at St Joseph’s College, are all new additions.

Winger Shaun Smith (dislocated thumb) is doubtful for Suds, who beat Swaffham 19-7 at home on Saturday in their final warm-up match.