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Richie Williams lauds winning run as reward for hard work at Cambridge Rugby Club in National League One

Richie Williams is not surprised by the upturn in form of Cambridge after they made it five wins in a row in National League One with a 28-25 win at Old Elthamians last Saturday.

Tries from Matt Hema, James Martin, Matt Dawson and Joe Tarrant, and four conversions from Ben Penfold secured victory to take them to eighth in the table.

Their winning run is a feat they had not achieved in National League One since 2010/11, with their previous best since promotion in 2016/17 being just two consecutive wins.

“It’s probably easy to say that we’d been playing as well earlier on in the season but not getting the results,” said Williams.

“A lot of playing and coaching at this level is outcome-based, and it’s a lot easier when you’re winning games.

“What has changed for me is the trust in what we’re trying to do, and it’s a trust in the coaching and management team around the game plan we’re giving the players at the start of the game.

“Then it’s us trusting the players to implement that on a Thursday and a Saturday. We’re happy and we’ve not done this for a number of seasons, gone on a winning run, and it’s nice now to be looking up the table as opposed to looking down it.

“What we are able to get from some of the performances is that while we’ve not played potentially our best 80 minutes, there have been elements and components of our game that were missing earlier on in the season.

“We’ve become a difficult team to break down and I think the players have a lot more self-belief around what works for us and our game plan, and attacking and defensive philosophy.

“The most encouraging aspect is the way the players are
problem-solving on the pitch.

“At Old Elthamians, we were 20-7 down with 20 minutes left, and again we were pretty belligerent with our attack and there was a clear structure on how we felt we could get ourselves back in the game.”

There have also been a number of squad changes recently.

Cambridge University star full-back Joey Gatus has joined the club and summer signing Jack Culverhouse, who has been out injured, could make his debut this Saturday (January 25) at home to Canterbury.

Ciaran Moore, Joey Patrick and Joey Green are currently out injured, while David Langley, Oli Petrides, Alex Rayment, Myles Bean and Josua Lewanituva have all left for varying reasons.

“We’re at a place now where we have a smaller squad. It’s a lot more streamlined than what it was in the off-season,” said Williams.

“Every player now that we’ve got in our first-team squad has had
first-team exposure this season.

“There’s that clarity and understanding of what we’re trying to do as a team, how we want to finish the season, how the last 11 games looks for us. I think we have genuine competition for places in every position.”

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