Ripon RUFC head coach Richard Dixon reckons new overseas fly-half Ashley Rio has the ability to light up Yorkshire Two this season.
Australian Rio made his debut on Saturday but found himself defending more than expected as Ripon were hammered 42-3 by Sheffield Medics at Mallorie Park.
The defeat extended Ripon’s losing streak to four matches as they failed to score a try for the third straight league match.
They sit second from bottom in the table.
Ripon continue the search for a first win this season when they travel to Hullensians on Saturday.
Rio slotted into the number 10 jersey on Saturday after joining the club last week.
On his arrival, Dixon said: “He blew in with the last shower of rain.
“He has obvious capability of kicking goals and he has a great boot from hand.
“He made a couple of lovely looking breaks on Saturday which gave us a taste of what could be to come.
“Best of all, he talks a lot of sense and he is quite clearly here to be one of the boys.”
Despite the Aussie’s introduction, Ripon were put on the back foot against the Sheffield students after struggling to cope with the Medics pace and fitness.
Ripon defended stoutly inside their 22 early on but the Medics’ pressure ultimately told when they slotted home a penalty after 10 minutes.
Ripon responded well from the restart with a driving attack led by skipper Adam Scott-Paul, which took the home side almost to a try scoring position.
And Rio levelled the scores with a well-taken penalty two minutes later.
But Scott-Paul’s first half injury saw Ripon’s forwards lose their drive and the Medics become rampant to run away with a dominant victory. “We were disappointed but not downhearted,” said Dixon.
“The line-out didn’t function and the players found it’s a difficult game without primary position.”
Ripon have struggled to with player availability but Adam Newcomebe, Joe Duffield and Mark Spillman return to the squad for the Hullensian trip.
“It’s always a tricky place to go but one that’s pretty familiar,” Dixon added.
“We will keep working. We will not allow the spirit to flag. It will come good.
“There’s one or two people floating around this team that can make a big difference.
“When we get it all together we will see how we can do.”