Former Richmond lock Colin O’Keeffe is one step away from a dream appearance at Twickenham, just as he was 12 months ago, writes Tim Ashton.

Standing him and his Battersea Ironsides team’s way in Saturday’s national semi-final of the Junior Vase are Longlevens, just as they were this time last season.

Skipper O’Keeffe’s men fell short against their Gloucester One opponents.

However, O’Keeffe, who played for Richmond in their National Division Two South days under Geoff Richards, is convinced they have learned the lessons, while at the same time acknowledging the Vase is not their number one priority.

Ironsides warmed up for the clash by beating Old Wimbledonians 25-0 on Saturday, meaning they will win the Surrey Division One title on April 11 provided they win at second-placed Camberley.

O’Keeffe said: “We have to further the club’s senior rugby pedigree and so promotion is our priority.

“From now until the end of the season, we have a final league game, the national Junior Vase semi-final and s Surrey shield semi-final.

“Each week is a must win game and what is encouraging is the excitement is really building ahead of each fixture given there is much more at stake each week.”

This time last season, Ironsides lost 24-39 to Longlevens.

However, despite the visitors’ boasting a record of just two league defeats all season, O’Keeffe, who’s side boast an unbeaten record in all competitions, is expecting a different result this time.

“You always learn more from the defeats,” he said.

“We have taken the lessons learned from the final 20 minutes last year when we changed our style of play despite being in a good position.

“That ultimately cost us, but we’re smarter now.”

He added: “We've also learned not to talk of Twickenham until we're there.

“But we are confident given we’ve stepped up the quality of our rugby and can vary our game to challenge opponents.

“Every one of us wishes we could get through the working week quicker so Saturday would come around and we can clock up another win in our hunt for silverware.”