One new face joins Richmond’s new campaign

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After last season’s seventh place finish, Richmond are looking upwards ahead of the new Premier 15s season. New coaching staff and new faces all lend a freshness to the side, but it’s the foundations they built last season that are key to this side. With that in mind, just one new signing starts the opening day trip to Loughborough Lightning (kick off 3pm), where Richmond lost 27-15 last season before the two sides played out a 10-10 draw in the snow later in the campaign.

Vicki Jackson is the new starter, who goes straight in at 13. Having played for the Barbarians, Wasps and Ponsonby, she brings a wealth of experience to the Richmond backline, and after impressing in pre-season, she comes straight in alongside Alicia McComish in a no-nonsense centre pairing. With Emelie Hellgren and Rachel Laqeretabua outside them, it is a backline that few would want to run at.

An all-international half-back pairing sees Wales’ Jade Knight and England’s Abi Chamberlain calling the shots, while Ireland’s Jade Wong will run things from 15, with her impressive boot and strong running game sure to both cause problems in attack.

Up front, the Richmond back-row trio are back in action, with Becky Ball, Zoe Barber and Libby Povey all fresh and raring to go for the new season. Claire Phelps and Row Burnfield complete a huge ball-carrying presence in the back five of the pack, while the front row trio of Laura Kapo, Alice Soper and Alex Zdunek won’t shirk a carry themselves. It’s a side that lends itself to a fast-paced game, and up against a strong-looking Loughborough outfit, and their new signings, it will probably be just that.

On the bench, meanwhile, two more new faces lie in wait, as former Saracen Stevie Farrow is ready to make an impact, and former Richmond star Anna Caplice makes her return after a few years playing for Munster and Ireland. Sian Hobday and Charlie Willett complete the forward replacements, with Tess Braunerova, Courtney Treco and Emily A Stone ready to bolster the backs.

Richmond Team

15 Jade Wong
14 Emelie Hellgren
13 Vicki Jackson
12 Alicia McComish
11 Rachel Laqeretabua
10 Abi Chamberlain
9 Jade Knight

1 Laura Kapo
2 Alice Soper
3 Alex Zdunek
4 Rowena Burnfield
5 Claire Phelps
6 Becky Ball
7 Zoe Barber
8 Libby Povey

16 Stevie Farrow
17 Sian Hobday
18 Charlie Willett
19 Anna Caplice
20 Tess Braunerova
21 Courtney Treco
22 Emily A Stone

Courtesy of Richmond FC