Rugby Union: Vander's the man

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The Independent Online
Richmond 28

Swansea 13

THE LONG and winding road to the Madejski Stadium in Reading - and that's just after you have exited the M4 - is as nothing compared to the journey Ashley Levett's Richmond club are making to establish themselves in their new surroundings.

Richmond's efforts in promoting what turned out to be a thoroughly uninspiring friendly in unforgiving conditions should be heartily applauded, but the crowd which turned up could have been accommodated in some comfort at the old Athletic Ground.

If the move does not eventually work out, and an attendance of some 5,620 for a non-competitive fixture could actually be called a success, nobody can accuse Richmond of not trying.

The on-pitch fare suffered as one stoppage after another for treatment to injured players inevitably interrupted the flow. No criticism could be directed at the referee, Fred Howard. In fact, the former international official appeared at times to be the fittest man on the pitch, until you remembered the knee operations which have punctuated the five years since he last took charge of a senior match.

The other medical bulletins had serious implications for both Richmond and Wales. Craig Quinnell failed to start with a chest injury, and both the prop, John Davies, and No 8 Scott Quinnell, the latter playing his first match for more than three months, retired hurt.

Quinnell senior looked to have aggravated the shoulder problem which delayed the start to his season. The Swansea outside-half, Arwel Thomas, also failed to last the first half.

Swansea's first defeat of the season was largely down to Richmond's prowess at close quarters. Three of the home side's four tries came directly from line-outs within sniffing distance of the Swansea line. Flanker Adam Vander, twice, and Quinnell were the beneficiaries.

Unsurprisingly it was a Swansea error, a misplaced pass by Paul Moriarty, who drove powerfully over for their solitary try a minute before half- time, which led to Richmond's other try. Adrian Davies seized on the loose ball and Richmond swept upfield for Allan Bateman to apply a straightforward finish.

Richmond: M Pini; N Walne, A Bateman ( M Deane 77), M Dixon, D Chapman; A Davies (capt), A Pichot; D Crompton, B Williams, J Davies (D McFarland 12), B Cusack (C Palmer 61), C Gillies (J Hamilton Smith 74), R Hutton, S Quinnell (A Codling 56), A Vander.

Swansea: M Back (A Lawson 71); R Rees, M Taylor (E Lewsey 77), S Gibbs (capt), M Robinson; A Thomas (L Davies 38), R Jones; D Morris (C Wells 36), G Jenkins (J Evans 66), B Evans, P Arnold (J Griffiths 80), A Moore, P Moriarty, T Maullin, C Charvis.

Referee: F Howard (Liverpool)

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