Plucky Richmond star out to seize his big second chance
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.”