Rugby Union: Pini dismantles Doncaster

Richmond 58 Doncaster 8
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The Independent Online
It was really a match between the northern factory brass and smooth, southern city money: Richmond, a team of all the international talents assembled by a financier with millions made on the international copper market, vanquished Doncaster, backed by a pet food manufacturer.

In the end, there was no real contest: perhaps a parable for our times - southern resources overwhelmed northern grit.

Doncaster never gave up but simply couldn't withstand the relentless pressure of a Richmond side that had enough skill to control the ball in the spells of driving rain and wind. In the end, the southern side scored 10 tries. Doncaster, four divisions below Richmond in the league, could only rely on their big, willing pack-battering forwards.

It was this limiting tactic which produced their only try when the pack kept looking onwards before releasing the ball to the centre Matt Brain. He was given an inch but made the yard of space he needed to squeeze through. That try plus the outside-half Dan Eddie's solitary penalty were Doncaster's only sniff of points.

Particularly impressive for Richmond was Matt Pini, the Australian full- back, who scored a couple of tries and made another when he ran the length of the field before kicking onwards. He also converted four of Richmond's 10 tries. The Argentinian flanker Rolando Martin was also always present, usually alongside Ben Clarke. Martin was rewarded for his effort with a try late on.

The Samoan outside-half Earl Va'a also crossed for a couple of tries. The winger Dominic Chapman got two and the centres Tom Whitford and Mike Hutton got one apiece. Richmond were also given a penalty try when Doncaster collapsed a scrum.

Doncaster were utterly beaten though never disgraced. They retain ambition in the league, having been promoted each of the past two years and sit at the top of North One this season.

Behind them lie the funds of Tony Demulder, a local businessman who makes money by producing pet food.

They have imported the Yorkshire stalwart Kevin Westgarth as a player- coach. The rest are semi-professionals, on a bonus of pounds 75 for every league game they win. There was no need of a bonus yesterday: the will was clearly there.

The wonder was that virtually all of Richmond's tries against them were scored by backs on a day when running was all but impossible.

The west London side have not quite delivered on their high promise in the league this season, and they were bundled out of the cup very early last season. As far as the cup is concerned, this year may be different.

Richmond: M Pini; J Wright, T Witford, M Hutton, V Chapman; E Va'a, A Moore; J Foster, B Williams (A Cuthbert, ht), J Davies, A Codling, C Gillies, R Martin, B Clarke (capt), A Vander.

Doncaster: J Ellis; A Rail, D Fairclough (capt), M Brain, C Conway; D Eddie, S Greenslade (A Pascoe, 62); C Yenn, G Hodgson, M Jessop (D Savage, 60), K Westgarth (R Hill, ht), M Bailey, R Senior, M Longworth, D Senior.

Referee: S Savage (RFU).

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