Richmond have begun planning for promotion as they sit atop the National League Division One with a 10-point gap separating them from nearest rivals Blackheath.

Director of rugby Steve Hill’s men downed Henley 36-0 on Saturday – through tries from Chris Davies (two), Charlie Lenygon, Mateo Zambruno, Tim Walford and debutant James Small-Edwards – to tighten their grip on the title with eight games remaining.

However, despite the need to prepare for next term, the Athletic Ground chief is far from counting his chickens just yet.

“We want to have a clear plan in place if we do go up, but planning is one thing, it actually happening is another,” said Hill.

“I think we have some very tough games to go starting this week against Darlington Mowden Park, who have won their last 12 games.

“The top six clubs still have to play each other over the next few weeks so ultimately it will go down to the last game or two of the season.

“We’re pleased where we are now but we’re certainly not counting any chickens yet.”

He added: “The players at the moment are just concentrating on doing as good as they can for the club.

“The discussions that we’ve had is that, if they did get the opportunity to play in the Championship, they would love to do that because they’re ambitious.”

Hill will resist the temptation to completely overhaul his squad should Richmond reach the second tier of English rugby, insisting any new faces must have the club's interests at heart.

“Each season for the six years I have been here we’ve looked to strengthen the squad, but to me the most important thing about strengthening is bringing in the right type of people,” said Hill.

“The environment and the ethos of the club is absolutely key to our success.

“We wouldn’t be looking to change that, so if we do bring people in they’ve got to be the right type of people that are going to buy into the Richmond way and what we’re trying to achieve.”