Preview: Tackling is key for OAs against Richmond

Andy Holloway is expecting a tough game at Richmond.

Andy Holloway is expecting a tough game at Richmond. - Credit: Archant

Old Albanian coach Andy Holloway is expecting a physical battle when his side meet Richmond for the second time this season on Saturday.

OAs won the reverse fixture 15-10 in November and, with the teams separated by just one place in the National One table, Holloway is not taking them lightly.

“Richmond are a really tough team to play against,” he told the Herts Ad.

“They don’t kick the ball much so you’re constantly on red alert. They like to move the ball around because they don’t kick much and keep it in play for a long time.

“Good conditioning is needed, which we have, and you have to have a high tackle completion rate against them. What we do without the ball will be more important than what we do with it.”

OAs were given a rain-enforced break this weekend as the Woollams pitch failed an RFU inspection ahead of the Cinderford game.

Holloway admitted he was “mad keen” to play the game and build on the last two wins against Coventry and Hull Ionians, but conceded it shouldn’t disrupt the momentum of his team.

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“The break shouldn’t have an effect on our conditioning,” he said.

“If anything, it might freshen us up, get rid of any niggling injuries and mean we can have a really hard session in preparation for Saturday.”

Looking back on the season, Holloway said he was proud of the way his team had adjusted and developed after losing five of the first six games.

“We won one of the first six games and all of them were by one score or less. We really weren’t good enough to win those games,” he explained.

“We play more mature and experienced rugby now. Those losses taught us how to win tight games and we’re closing out games when we’re in winning positions.”

But, he refused to look beyond Richmond on Saturday.

“Every team knows more about us and the last third [of the season] is high pressure stuff. There are games were should win but we have to do it.

He added: “We need to focus on winning each game so we don’t have to worry about what’s below us before we can look up the table.”