Plucky Rich­mond star out to seize his big sec­ond chance

The Rugby Paper - - News - NEALE HAR­VEY

NEW­CAS­TLE-BOUND No.9 Sam Stu­art will al­ways be grate­ful to Rich­mond for help­ing him win a re­mark­able bat­tle against in­jury.

Stu­art was once seen as the suc­ces­sor to Danny Care while com­ing through the Har­lequins academy, but his hopes were dashed by three an­te­rior cru­ci­ate lig­a­ment re­con­struc­tions, forc­ing him to quit the Stoop in 2014.

Rich­mond pro­vided a life­line with Stu­art’s con­tri­bu­tion prov­ing cru­cial as the part-timers romped to the Na­tional One ti­tle last year be­fore de­fy­ing the odds this sea­son by fin­ish­ing tenth to se­cure their Cham­pi­onship sta­tus.

Hav­ing bagged a move to the Fal­cons, Stu­art, 25, told

TRP: “My time at Rich­mond’s been fan­tas­tic. It’s al­lowed me to play at a high level and get back to near the stan­dard I want to be.

“A lot of peo­ple thought we wouldn’t win any games, but we have and although what hap­pened to Lon­don Welsh was ter­ri­ble, we’re wor­thy of another sea­son. The fact we’ve fin­ished above Rother­ham and would have sur­vived on merit any­way is very sat­is­fy­ing and you can’t praise the job (rugby direc­tor) Steve Hill has done highly enough.

“Although I’m mov­ing on, next sea­son Rich­mond will have 35 guys who’ve had Cham­pi­onship ex­pe­ri­ence which will stand them in good stead.”

Stu­art has shown im­mense re­silience when less de­ter­mined in­di­vid­u­als might have folded.

He ex­plained: “Af­ter my third ACL in­jury I was won­der­ing whether there was much point car­ry­ing on when I was spend­ing nine months of ev­ery year not do­ing any­thing, but I never reached the point of giv­ing up and I’ve now got my re­ward.

“I’m look­ing for­ward to the op­por­tu­nity to play for the Fal­cons. I’ve got to step up in pre-sea­son, chal­lenge the guys who are there and ful­fil what­ever top-flight po­ten­tial peo­ple thought I had be­fore my in­juries.”

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