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Richards to warn his side about being complacent

CLOSE EYE: Sudbury director of rugby Graham Richards on the touchline on Saturday
CLOSE EYE: Sudbury director of rugby Graham Richards on the touchline on Saturday

Sudbury go to Stowmarket on Saturday bidding to make it 12 wins out of 12 before the London League’s two-week Christmas break.

The team reached the halfway stage of their 22-game Division 2NE season on Saturday with their 11th straight win, scoring five tries as they ended Lowestoft and Yarmouth’s seven-match winning run 37-15 at Whittome Field.

Sudbury last went through the first half of a season undefeated back in 1994 when they won promotion, an outcome their supporters hope will be repeated in 2015.

Stowmarket were beaten 50-17 at Sudbury in September, but director of rugby Graham Richards is warning against complacency.

“I guess not many teams have gone through the first half of the season undefeated, but we are not taking anything for granted,” he said. “Every team we play will want to take us down.”

Richards was justifiably proud of his youthful team on Saturday — all local players, with no-one aged over 21 in the backs— and three of the five tries coming from two teenage centres. Tom Dufficy, 18, marked his first XV game with Sudbury’s third try.

Chris Lewis, 17, scored two, and once again proved proficient with the boot, adding a further 12 points from his kicks.

Lewis has taken over kicking duties from captain Tom Summers, who has been ruled out long-term following surgery on a knee injury. Man of the match at Beccles a week earlier, Lewis landed some demanding kicks on Saturday in another excellent performance.

Richards declined to single out individuals, though.

“Everybody played well,” he said. “We defended superbly, and they threw everything at us. Our philosophy is weather the storm and take the chances when they come.

“We played the game pretty much textbook. Once we had scored (the first try) the ascendancy changed and we had a good second half.

“Some of the rugby we are playing is so much better than last year. There’s some improving to do, but we are just getting better at managing the game. ”

Shaun Smith and Nick Robinson came off in the second half, both with minor injuries, and to prevent further damage. “They could have stayed on,” said Richards, “but we have such a decent bench there was no point in taking a risk.”

Sudbury, on 52 points, are seven points ahead of nearest rivals Cantabrigian, having won two more games, and 12 points ahead of third-placed West Norfolk. After Saturday, six of Sudbury’s remaining 10 league games are at home.