Richmond Rugby Club has been given a glowing endorsement by England flanker Chris Robshaw after being nominated for the Pitchero Rugby Club of the Year at September’s National Rugby Awards.
Formed in 1861, Richmond is the second-oldest rugby club in the world, most famously contesting the first match at Twickenham Stadium against Harlequins in 1909.
In 1999, the club was placed into administration and tumbled down the leagues to level nine, but since then, has rebuilt from scratch and now has more than 800 players on its books, with many of its ladies team representing the home nations on the international stage.
Robshaw might be busy preparing for the new season, but the England and Harlequins flanker has been quick to highlight the efforts of Richmond.
Robshaw and his Harlequins side raise the curtain on the new Premiership rugby season on September 3 when they take on Bristol Rugby at Twickenham.
Just three days earlier however the home of English rugby will be centre stage for the great and good of the sport’s grassroots heroes for the annual National Rugby Awards, now in association with the RFU.
Richmond will be getting their moment in the spotlight, after they were nominated for the award in a shortlist of six, alongside nominees from Aylesbury, Saracens Amateurs, Littleborough, Belsize Park and Canterbury rugby clubs.
“It’s hugely important to build and promote the grassroots of the game,” said Robshaw.
“That is where every international player starts and first falls in love with the game.
“And that is what the game is about at the end of the day, enjoyment.
“We want to celebrate everything that is great about rugby, from the grassroots right the way through to club and internationals.
“This ceremony therefore is a chance to celebrate clubs like Richmond all under one roof.
“When we as professionals get to go back to our first clubs it is fantastic, and the game is still growing.
“After the World Cup it is all about building and still getting out to more and more clubs to celebrate.”
From the chairman to the individual who has swept the changing rooms for the past 30 years, the National Rugby Awards recognises everyone involved in the game, with 14 different categories to be contested.
The glittering 2016 Awards ceremony at Twickenham Stadium on Thursday September 1 will be attended by rugby celebrities as well as members of England Rugby teams and Premiership players, leaving Robshaw confident of bettering last year’s inaugural awards night.
“Last year we thought about putting these awards together and they were a great success.” he said.
“It went better than we ever expected, we got more than 300 entries which was great.
“This year we wanted to reach out to a large number, to keep growing the awards and promote this great game.
“There are a variety of different awards, from Men’s Player of the Year, Women’s Team of the Year, Pitchero Club of the Year, right through to Lifetime Achievement Award. It’s going to be a great night.”
For more information about the National Rugby Awards, please visit the website http://www.nationalrugbyawards.co.uk