Source: Roger Wooldridge

Richmond Freshen Up Ahead Of Gloucester-Hartpury’s Visit

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After four defeats on the bounce, a last minute postponement after a trip to Darlington wasn’t the ideal way to go into Christmas for Richmond. The new year, though, offers fresh opportunities, and head coach David Mobbs-Smith has made several changes to his side for the visit of Gloucester-Hartpury.

The back three is all changed for Richmond, with wingers Maria Gyolcsos and Rachel Laqeretabau both returning from injury, and full back Emelie Hellgren brought into the side having impressed in the 39-19 cup victory away at Waterloo last weekend.

Alicia McComish at 13, and Sanna Vestman-Stromberg at fly half, both come into the backline after last week’s strong performance too, where they support Vic Britland at 12 and Jade Knight at nine, the duo offering a familiarity to a much-changed backline.

It’s a similar story up front, where Alice Soper joins Gaelle Mignot and Laura Kapo in the front row, and the returning Zoe Barber is joined in the back row by Sophie Barnet at six – another who is rewarded for her showing against Waterloo – and the familiar face of Chloe Butler at eight. In the second row, meanwhile, Row Burnfield continues to lead the side ahead of joining England for the Six Nations, and she is joined by another player back from injury in the shape of Claire Phelps.

With in-form players, and a raft of injury returns, Richmond have a strong side ready to get the side back to winning ways, and it means the bench has a real strength to it as well. Jade Wong, Kirsty Lee Griffiths and Katie Wallis – all mainstays in the side this season – offer options in the backline, while Alex Zdunek, Anna Butler, Sian Hobday and Libby Povey make up a strong looking pack four, all of whom will want to get on and make a statement against a solid Gloucester-Hartpury side.

“They have a balanced team with a good ball-carrying pack and an attacking backline,” Mobbs-Smith said of the opposition. “Tactically, they are prepared very well and head coach Sue Appleby will be expecting them to perform on the road.”


15 Emelie Hellgren
14 Rachel Laqeretabua
13 Alicia McComish
12 Vic Britland
11 Maria Gyolcsos
10 Sanna Vestman-Stromberg
9 Jade Knight

1 Alice Soper
2 Gaelle Mignot
3 Laura Kapo
4 Row Burnfield (c)
5 Claire Phelps
6 Sophie Barnet
7 Zoe Barber
8 Chloe Butler

16 Alex Zdunek
17 Anna Butler
18 Sian Hobday
19 Libby Povey
20 Jade Wong
21 Kirsty Lee Griffiths
22 Katie Wallis
Report courtesy of Richmond FC