Source: Kate Clements

Richmond look to new half back pairing for tricky trip to Lightning

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After holding their nerve in the dying moments to pull off a stunning 15-12 victory over Firwood Waterloo Ladies last weekend, Richmond Women are aiming for more of the same at Loughborough Lightning on Saturday 4th November; KO 3pm.

Richmond skipper Rowena Burnfield turned down a shot at goal in the latter stages of their Round Six clash in the North West, and the gamble paid off when Burnfield herself scored to secure a narrow victory. Richmond will expect to be just as bold when they take on Lightning, who have been beaten just once on their own patch this season.

Director of Rugby Dave Mobbs-Smith has made limited changes to the starting side from last weekend, but a fresh look at half-backs, where Jade Knight and Jade Wong come in at nine and ten respectively, is certain to see Richmond offer a different threat.

Knight comes in for her first league start of the season, with Wong donning the ten jersey after previous starts in the midfield.

It might be Knight’s first league start, but her job is made easier as she sits behind a pack who have been dominant this season, accounting for more than half of Richmond’s tries in the opening six rounds. It’s no surprise, then, that Mobbs-Smith has gone for consistency up front, with the same pack who took to the field last weekend.

Victoria Meki,  Laura Kapo and Gaelle Mignot make up the front row, with Morgan Simpson and Anna Butler backing them up on the bench.

After an inspirational performance last time out, Burnfield – who crossed the whitewash twice – will be looking to continue her good form ahead of England’s autumn tests, and she is once again partnered in the second row by Claire Phelps, who has proved herself a menace to the oppositions’ set-piece this season. The back row trio of Zoe Barber, Fran Hall and Chloe Butler complete a strong looking pack.

Outside Wong at fly half, consistency is again the name of the game, as Kirsty Lee Griffiths once again partners Victoria Britland in the centres, and the ever-dangerous Rachel Laqeretabua and Kiri Lose take their places on the wings. Katie Wallis comes in at full back to complete the back line.

On the bench, Sanna Vestman-Stromberg returns to the match day squad, while scrum half Charlotte Keane who missed out on the winning effort last week due to injury, will want to make a big contribution from the bench this weekend.

Sian Hobday, Alicia McCormish and Becky Ball also take their places on the bench for what is set to be a tight affair against a strong and resolute side at home.

Ahead of the trip, Mobbs-Smith highlighted the exceptional talents his side must be wary of.
“Loughborough Lightning are a young and exciting team. They have a number of outstanding individuals in Olivia Jones and Cath O’Donnell, and England Captain Sarah Hunter as the newly-appointed player/coach,” he said. “This should be a hard fought and close contest between two sides quite close to each other in the league.”

Richmond Team

15 Katie Wallis
14 Rachel Laqeretabua
13 Kirsty Lee Griffiths
12 Victoria Britland
11 Kiri Lose
10 Jade Wong
9 Jade Knight

1 Laura Kapo
2 Gaelle Mignot
3 Victoria Meki
4 Rowena Burnfield (c)
5 Claire Phelps
6 Zoe Barber
7 Fran Hall
8 Chloe Butler


16 Morgan Simpson
17 Anna Butler
18 Sian Hobday
19 Becky Ball
20 Charlotte Keane
21 Sanna Vestman-Stromberg
22 Alicia McComish

Report courtesy of Richmond FC