Richmond captain and outside centre Cam Mitchell is looking for revenge this evening over south west London rivals Rosslyn Park but insists there is no bad blood.
Richmond suffered a rare home defeat to Rosslyn park in November and tonight gives them an opportunity to get one over their south London rivals and increase their lead at the top of the English National League 1 to 14 points.
Richmond currently sit at the top of the English National League 1 with Rosslyn Park just behind them in second.
Rosslyn Park and Richmond play only three miles apart so the bragging rights for south west London are very much on the line.
Mitchell was reluctant to fan the flames though, he said: “Once we cross the whitewash we are there to win.
“It’s a big rivalry but there is no bad blood.”
After suffering relegation last season Richmond are top of the league and in a prime position to reclaim their spot in the Championship.
However, Mitchell insisted that this season was about so much more than promotion. He said: “It’s not about promotion for us as we are rebuilding the squad.”
With a number of senior players retiring from the club at the end of last season, Richmond looked to bring in a number of new faces and bring through younger academy graduates to bolster the ranks.
This rebuild seems to be working wonders for Richmond as they are currently on an eleven-game winning streak and hope to continue that run this evening.
Mitchell has put their success down to the atmosphere at the club. He said: “It’s like playing with fifteen of your best mates.”
One of these best mates happens to be schoolboy rival and university housemate Tom Hodgson.
Hodgson and Mitchell, best friends of 16 years have lived together for the past two years. The two have both recently moved out of their shared flat but their bond on the field has never been stronger.
Fly half Hodgson has been pivotal to Richmond’s success and was at the heart of the rebuild. He joined at the beginning of the season and is currently leading the team for points scored, with 139.
His five tries have been a bonus from fly half, but it was the kicking duties he took over from injured full back Rob Kirby that have been key to his success.
He said: “They were big boots to fill but I’m really happy to be able to take on the responsibility.”
Hodgson is excited for tonight’s game and highlighted the magnitude of the fixture. He said: “If you can’t get up for this game you are in the wrong sport.”
Hodgson also cemented his friend and teammate’s belief that playing with mates breeds success. He said: “To play with one of your best mates is huge.”
“It makes all the ups better but all the downs harder, but you love every moment of it.”
The Rosslyn Park team currently sitting in second have recruited well for a rebuild themselves with ex England international Paul Doran Jones propping up their front row.
While it will take some incredible results to leapfrog Richmond in the table, the club are hoping they can build on their previous victory over Richmond to claim a much-desired double over their league and local rivals.
Richmond take on Rossyln Park at 7:45 tonight at The Rock.
Photo Credit: Roger Woolridge