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Richie Williams excited by the potential of Cambridge in National League One

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Kwaku Asiedu scored two tries for Cambridge at Plymouth Albion. Picture: Keith Heppell
Kwaku Asiedu scored two tries for Cambridge at Plymouth Albion. Picture: Keith Heppell

Richie Williams is excited by the potential of Cambridge in National League One this season.

They made it seven games unbeaten with an impressive 17-0 win at Plymouth Albion last Saturday.

A belligerent defensive display kept the hosts at bay, while they were clinical at the other end, with two tries from Kwaku Asiedu and one from Joey Green, and a conversion from Lawrence Rayner.

“It was a game that internally we had probably highlighted as a big occasion,” said Cambridge’s director of rugby.

“We had not won in Plymouth for certainly the last five occasions that we have been down there, and it’s always represented a very difficult away trip for us – we highlighted the last time we visited Plymouth, we lost 49-10 and were completely out-muscled and bullied in that game.

“It’s really pleasing that we’ve made a seismic shift in how we’re playing and if anything our physicality won the game.

“We’re really pleased and it was nice to see the team defending so well and keeping out an opposition team, which I don’t think we’ve done for a long time.

“There were moments in both halves where we were under considerable pressure defending our try-line and a combination of some brave individual defence with some really good defensive systems that Dan Richmond has put in place managed to keep them at bay. When you’re winning by two or three scores it is sometimes easy to let off the intensity when you’re defending, but huge credit to the players as they defended for the full 80 minutes and got what they deserved.”

A sign of the progress that Cambridge have made is that they have only conceded four tries, which earns a bonus point, in three of their 10 games so far this season.

They are currently in seventh place in the table, only four points adrift of third-placed Rams.

But Williams believes there is much more to come from the side.

“The exciting bit at the moment is we’re starting to see some of the things we talked about in pre-season around the experienced players really adding value to what we’re trying to do as a group,” he said.

“Some of the players that have been at the club a long time, their leadership qualities are coming to the fore.

“The most exciting part is that we’ve not yet performed for a full 80 minutes.

“There have been games where we’ve attacked really well through our driving line-out, there have been games where we’ve defended really well but I’m yet to see us put together that really consistent performance.

“When we do, I’m really confident we can score a lot of points against somebody this season.

“Where we’re at with the stage of evolution this group is at, it’s going to come and I think you’ve got to go through some difficult periods, which we did at the beginning of the season and we’ve come out at the other end of that.

“We’ve put in far more consistent performances, and I think we’ve changed some people’s perceptions of what a Cambridge rugby team looks like so that’s encouraging.

“I think it is exciting that we’ve got a lot more potential about what we can achieve as a group.”

Having faced two of the bottom three in recent weeks, the third are on the horizon this Saturday (November 27) when Leeds Tykes visit Volac Park.

But Williams added: “You can be seduced by league positions in National One, and I think you do that at your peril.

“I think Plymouth, Tonbridge Juddians and Leeds this weekend, our preparation has been spot on.

“We’ve been really diligent with the homework and analysis of the opposition, the players have constructed a game plan that they think will put teams under pressure.

“It will be no different this week. We’re going to have to go to the same places as we did last week against Plymouth defensively, but hopefully we can be a bit braver with our attacking and create more try-scoring opportunities.”

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