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Richmond Rugby
Richmond rugby logo.png
Full nameRichmond Rugby Club
UnionSurrey RFU
Founded1861; 161 years ago (1861)
LocationRichmond, London, England
Ground(s)Athletic Ground, Richmond (Capacity: 4,500 (1,000 seated))
ChairmanJohn Heaton
PresidentChris Mills
Coach(es)Rob Powell
Captain(s)Cameron Mitchell
League(s)RFU Championship
2020–2111th
Team kit
Official website
richmondfc.co.uk

Richmond Football Club is a rugby union club from Richmond, London. It is a founding member of the Rugby Football Union, and is one of the oldest football clubs (of any code). It fields teams in both men's and women's rugby; the men's first team currently play in the RFU Championship following their promotion from National League 1 at the end of the 2019–20 season, while the women's first team play in the Women's Championship.

History

Formed in 1861, it is one of the oldest football clubs in the world and holds a significant place in the history of association football, playing in the first ever match under the rules of the Football Association on 19 December 1863, against the Barnes Club,[1] even though it was not a member of the Football Association. In 1878 it hosted the first ever floodlit match and in 1909 played in the inaugural match at Twickenham Stadium, the home of English rugby.

Richmond always traditionally played without a number 13 (similar to Bath) – the outside centre would wear 14, right wing 15 and fullback 16. However, during the professional era they adopted squad numbering; meaning rather than rugby's usual method of giving numbers 1–15 to the starting line-up, players were assigned a number for the season, as seen in football. Back in the amateur leagues, Richmond returned to their traditional numbering system before promotion to the National Leagues in 2008 saw them forced to adopt the uniform 1–15 numbering system according to RFU laws.

Professional era

In 1996, the then third division club was bought by financial markets trader and Monaco tax exile Ashley Levett. Levett turned the club into the first professional team in England, and began buying in big names to push the club up the leagues, including Ben Clarke from Bath, the first £1million signing. The club outgrew the Richmond Athletic Ground and became tenants at the Madejski Stadium in Reading. But the crowds and revenues from competition meant that Levett was continually financing the club, and so he placed it in administration in March 1999.

The professional Richmond club and professional London Scottish F.C. were both merged into London Irish, who moved to the Stoop Memorial Ground before taking up tenancy at Madejski the following year.[2] This period of hesitancy and uncertainty resulted in many of the professional players leaving the club pre-merger, and returning to their original home-teams. The amateur club was reformed in 2000, and the club rejoined the leagues as an amateur club at the bottom of the pyramid.

Post administration

After the professional era, hooker Andy Cuthbert remained at the club and captained the side for several years. Despite its lowly league position, Richmond has still managed to attract some top class players - former South Africa captain Bobby Skinstad joined for the 2005–06 season, Chilean fly-half Sebastian Berti joined in 2006 and England Students' wing Joe Ajuwa was a regular starter in the 1st XV. Under head coach Andy Maren the club climbed through the lower ranks of the England rugby divisions, from Herts & Middlesex 1 (ninth level) to London 1 (fifth level) in four years, amassing a perfect record of 83 straight wins in league play in the process. However, the club seemingly stalled at that level, continuing to put together winning seasons, but failing to gain promotion in 2005–06 and 2006–07.

In the 2007–08 season, Richmond laid out a serious plan for promotion - something they had failed to achieve in the past two seasons, one reason being they had not had any semi-professional players on their books. For the 2007–08 season, the club recruited a number of semi-professional players to boost Richmond's promotion chances. One of these players was USA international Jon Hartman. Richmond eventually achieved promotion, winning all but one of their League games. The coach, Brett Taylor, laid out plans for the club to be in National League 2 South in two seasons, and attempts were made to structure the colts teams into an effective feeder system for the 1st XV. However, during summer 2008, London Scottish were boosted financially and subsequently signed Taylor as their head coach. Richmond appointed Geoff Richards to take his place. Following two years in National League Two, Geoff Richards decided not to renew his contract citing differences in opinion between the board and himself on how the club should move forward. In 2009–10 Richmond appointed Oxford University Director of Rugby Steve Hill to take over after fourteen years in charge of the university side. Within two years (summer 2011) promotion was achieved and Richmond played in National League 1 until the end of the 2015–16 season when they achieved a further promotion into the Green King IPA Championship. Following three seasons in the Championship, Richmond were relegated at the end of the 2018–19 season and forced to return to National League 1. They hit back strongly in season 2019–20, winning 20 out of 25 matches in National League 1 to finish top of the league and earn promotion back to the Championship.

Current standings

2021–22 RFU Championship Table watch · edit · discuss
Club Played Won Drawn Lost Points for Points against Diff Try bonus Losing bonus Points
1 Ealing Trailfinders 20 16 0 4 890 336 554 15 1 80
2 Doncaster Knights 20 17 0 3 524 322 202 9 0 77
3 Cornish Pirates 20 14 2 4 521 365 156 12 1 73
4 Jersey Reds 20 13 1 6 596 436 160 12 3 69
5 Bedford Blues 20 9 0 11 536 503 33 10 4 50
6 Ampthill 20 8 2 10 420 511 −91 6 4 46
7 Hartpury 20 7 1 12 524 515 9 10 6 46
8 Coventry 20 9 0 11 468 582 −114 7 2 45
9 Richmond 20 7 1 12 440 546 −106 7 5 42
10 Nottingham 20 5 0 15 407 690 −283 6 4 30
11 London Scottish 20 1 1 18 326 846 −520 3 2 11
  • If teams are level at any stage, tiebreakers are applied in the following order:
  1. Number of matches won
  2. Difference between points for and against
  3. Total number of points for
  4. Aggregate number of points scored in matches between tied teams
  5. Number of matches won excluding the first match, then the second and so on until the tie is settled
Green background Championship winners
Updated: 2 April 2022
Source: "The Championship". England Rugby.

Youth

Richmond's youth section is also highly successful - London Irish fullback Delon Armitage was a member of the mini section, and London Wasps' centre Dominic Waldouck earned an England callup for the 2008 tour of New Zealand, having progressed through the agegroups at Richmond. London Wasps No.8 Hugo Ellis, another product of Richmond's youth section, captained Wales U16s, as well as England at U19 and was the England U20 Captain in the 2008 Grand Slam winning side, also reaching the finals of the iRB Junior World Championship. Yet another former Richmond Youth, Joe Simpson, winning his first full England cap in 2011 Rugby World Cup, also of London Wasps, was scrum half for the U20s. Simpson was in the England Sevens squad for the first round of the 2007–08 IRB Sevens World Series; Sevens being an important stepping stone for the development of the best youth talent.

In the 2009–10 season a colts team was revived based on the highly rated U17 age group team of the previous season, and several U19 players returning to further bolster the squad. They entered the National Colts Cup and having defeated eight opponents most notably Blackheath, they beat former champions Old Northamptonians, 25–12 at Franklin's Gardens.

Home ground

Richmond play at the Athletic Ground, Richmond, which borders Royal Mid Surrey Golf Club, and is close to other sporting facilities such as Richmond Swimming Pool, Old Deer Park and also a gym. The complex includes two pitches (pitches 3 & 4) by the front gate, the 1st team pitch and perpendicular to that, pitch 2. The site also has a disused driving range behind the 1st team pitch which has three pitches on it, and a disused bowls club. One side of the pitch has a large concrete all-seater stand, under which are the changing rooms, a canteen, shop, physio room and two bars. Also on this southern side of the pitch is a disused cricket pavilion which also contains several more changing rooms and showers. During the early professional years, a temporary stand was erected along the north side of the pitch.

Later on in the professional era, Richmond 1st team moved to the Madejski Stadium, Reading, where they played until bankruptcy. The stadium would later become London Irish's home ground, and was an early example of London rugby clubs playing in football grounds – London Wasps played at Loftus Road before moving to Adams Park, and Saracens moved to Vicarage Road.

Rivalries

Richmond contested the first ever rugby match with Blackheath F.C., and the clubs have continued to play an annual fixture to uphold the tradition – now referred to as the longest-running annual fixture in rugby. As of 2013–14, the two clubs are in the same league, after many years apart, meaning that they play each other at least twice during the regular season, in addition to the traditional pre-season fixture.

Richmond shared the Athletic Ground with London Scottish, and this rivalry is very intense. Both sides experienced a high point at the beginning of the professional era and played in the Premiership. Both teams also fell into administration and dropped down to a level well below the national leagues, and though the routes taken have been slightly different, both clubs have battled their way up the leagues. As of 2019–20, London Scottish were also in the Championship. In years when the clubs are in the same division, the two "home" and "away" matches are two of the most well-attended and hotly contested of the year.

Richmond also have a local rivalry with Barnes who they have recently frequently played as both sides sought to move into the national leagues.

At youth level, Richmond's strongest rivalry tends to be with nearby Rosslyn Park. A Richmond vs Rosslyn Park game is always surrounded by controversy of some sort.

Honours

Current squad

For player movements before or during the 2021–22 season, see List of 2021–22 RFU Championship transfers § Richmond.

The Richmond squad for the 2021–22 season are:[8][a]

Note: Flags indicate national union as has been defined under WR eligibility rules. Players may hold more than one non-WR nationality.

Player Position Union
James Hadfield Hooker England England
Jack Musk [a] Hooker England England
Mike Perks Hooker England England
Callum Torpey Hooker England England
Arun Watkins Hooker England England
Vaughan Bentley Prop England England
Jake Byrne Prop England England
Ben Christie Prop England England
Sam Gratton Prop England England
Jonny Harris Prop England England
Jimmy Litchfield Prop England England
Ntinga Mpiko Prop South Africa South Africa
Kurt Schonert Prop South Africa South Africa
Luke Spring Prop England England
Tim Walford Prop England England
Will Carrick-Smith Lock England England
Sam Collingridge Lock England England
Cameron Gray Lock England England
Byron Hodge Lock Australia Australia
Fred Hosking Lock England England
Myles Scott Lock Ghana Ghana
Henri Williams Lock Wales Wales
Jack Allcock Back row England England
David Massey Back row England England
Hamish Barton Back row England England
Ethan Benson Back row England England
Andrew Boyce Back row England England
Mark Bright Back row England England
Jared Cardew Back row England England
Graham Geldenhuys Back row South Africa South Africa
Ethan Harbinson Back row England England
Ryan Nixon Back row England England
Jake Parker Back row England England
Jack Rouse Back row England England
Toby Saysell Back row England England
Miles Wakeling Back row England England
Huw Worthington Back row Wales Wales
Player Position Union
Aaron Bagwell Scrum-half England England
Alex Crocker Scrum-half England England
Toby Dabell Scrum-half England England
Charlie Gowling Scrum-half Scotland Scotland
Luc Jones Scrum-half Wales Wales
James Lennon Scrum-half Ireland Ireland
Edward Morgan Scrum-half England England
Callum Watson Scrum-half England England
Alex Burrage Fly-half England England
Ben Cook Fly-half England England
Lewis Dennett Fly-half England England
Tom Ffitch Fly-half England England
Tom Hodgson Fly-half England England
Ted Landray Fly-half England England
Giles Bromley-Martin Centre England England
Craig Duncan Centre England England
Zuriel Makele Centre England England
Ronnie McLean Centre England England
Cameron Mitchell (c) Centre England England
Will Attfield Wing England England
Imad Bouhedjeur Wing France France
Jake Caddy Wing England England
Chester Duff Wing England England
Alex Goble Wing England England
Hamish Graham Wing Ireland Ireland
Dan Kelly Wing England England
Rhys Lewis Wing England England
Ben Robbins Wing Scotland Scotland
Max Trimble Wing England England
Will Homer Fullback England England
Owain James Fullback England England
James Kane Fullback Australia Australia
Will Kaye Fullback England England
  1. ^ a b Harlequins academy player Jack Musk is dual-registered with Richmond for the 2021–22 season.

Notable former players

This list of "famous" or "notable" persons has no clear inclusion or exclusion criteria. Please help to define clear inclusion criteria and edit the list to contain only subjects that fit those criteria. (August 2018) (Learn how and when to remove this template message)
See also Category:Richmond F.C. players

See also

References

  1. ^ "The History of The FA". The Football Association. Retrieved 6 June 2014.
  2. ^ Sugar daddies Four for whom the game turned sour The Independent - 23 January 2005
  3. ^ "UNDER 14 COMPETITIONS". www.hampshirerugby.co.uk.
  4. ^ "Hampshire Rugby". www.hampshirerugby.co.uk.
  5. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 21 May 2014. Retrieved 21 May 2014.((cite web)): CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  6. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 21 May 2014. Retrieved 21 May 2014.((cite web)): CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  7. ^ "Our History". Archived from the original on 22 October 2013.
  8. ^ "Richmond Men 1st XV squad". Richmond FC. Retrieved 25 August 2021.