Richmond have been left reeling after scrum half Kris Greene announced his immediate retirement from the game as he launches a bid to reach the London 2012 Olympics - as a weightlifter.

Irishman Greene is set to be fast-tracked into the sport having been tapped up by talent spotters while training in the gym at St Mary’s University, Twickenham, where he is a student.

The former Leinster U18 star’s last game for the club proved to be a substitute appearance in last week’s 30-20 defeat to Southend having made the decision to pull out of Saturday’s 26-25 loss at Westcombe Park.

And director of rugby Geoff Richards insists Greene, who played 37 games for the Athletic Ground out fit having switched to the club from London Welsh, goes with the full backing of the club.

“It has been a decision that has been tearing him up for some time now,” he said.

“His power to weight ration is huge because he is quite small in stature and I think that is what has been seen in him.

“It seems he has a good opportunity of going to the Olympics and if you’re serious about that then you have to give it everything.

“If he doesn’t do it, it is something he might regret for the rest of his life and I wouldn’t wish that on anyone.

“We tried to persuade him to stay until the end of the season, but he has decided to commit to it and good luck to him.

“I just reminded him that if he gets there I hope we’ll be first on his list for tickets.”

Richmond never really recovered from going 12-0 down inside the first 15 minutes at the weekend and although tries from Tim Cook and Adam Friel pegged things back, Richards’ men were to trail 26-10 five minutes into the second half.

Ed Rosa and Matt Hart made it 26-25 with 15 minutes on the clock, but the hosts held on to boost their chances of beating the National Division Two South drop.

“It was very disappointing to lost a game we probably should have won,” added Richards.

“We threw everything at them, but lacked a bit of composure. Having said that it was still good to get two bonus points out of the weekend without playing that well.”

Richmond’s next three games: Feb 27 Clifton (h), Mar 6 Barnes (a), 20 Bridgwater & Albion (h).