Preview and squad for Worcester (A) 21.11.14

20/11/2014

Back-to-back trips to London Scottish and Worcester represent a tough stretch of the 2014/15 season.

Following the 38-17 defeat to the third-placed Exiles in London last Friday, Jersey head to Sixways to take on second-placed Worcester, whose only defeat of the season was a last-gasp loss to Bristol on opening day.

A glance at the latest Championship stats shows the magnitude of the task. In the try-scoring charts after seven rounds, Worcester have scored 33 tries, the same as Scottish and one behind Bristol. A long way back in equal fourth, with 19 tries, are Jersey and Rotherham. Bottom-placed Plymouth have just six.

Defensively, Worcester have conceded only 10 tries, one fewer than Bristol. Yorkshire Carnegie have the next tightest defence (14 tries against) and then it's Jersey, Doncaster and Scottish (17).

But Jersey will travel with hope, knowing they have nothing to lose and that a display similar to that which blew away Nottingham at Meadow Lane in September would test any Championship opponent.

The match is the last in the current phase of Championship fixtures. Teams will return to British & Irish Cup action for the next three weekends before the league resumes just before Christmas.


Jersey Team News

All change! Harvey Biljon has gone for the most radical team selection of his first 11 months as Jersey's Head Coach for the trip to Worcester.

Jersey's starting XV for the Friday night game at Sixways sees just three players retain the shirts in which they took to the field against London Scottish last Friday: lock Nick Campbell, fly-half Jonny Bentley and inside centre Lewis Robling. Two other players switch positions, with skipper Alex Rae returning to the second row and Drew Locke moving from centre to wing.

Salad V Scots 2

The changes see 10 players come in, including six forwards: in the front row Nick Selway (pictured above by Sue Trower) is back from injury and makes his first appearance of the season alongside Nacho Lancuba and Gareth Harris, while the back row trio is also a new unit, made up of Paula Kaho, Joe Buckle and Mick Noone.

The Islanders' back line sees scrum-half Ryan Glynn, centre David Bishop and wing Mark McCrea return, while there is a debut at full-back for new signing Ross Jones-Davies.

Jersey's bench includes five forwards who started the match against London Scottish: flankers Ryan Hodson and Nick Haining, and the front row trio of Sam Lockwood, Martin Garcia-Veiga and Danny Herriott. The replacement backs are Joel Dudley and Grant Pointer.

A video preview is available HERE

Jersey squad v Worcester Warriors - Greene King IPA Championship, Friday November 21st, Sixways - k-o 7.45pm

Backs (15-9)
Ross Jones-Davies
Drew Locke
David Bishop
Lewis Robling
Mark McCrea
Jonny Bentley
Ryan Glynn

Forwards (1-8)
Ignacio Lancuba
Gareth Harris
Nick Selway
Nick Campbell
Alex Rae (capt)
Paula Kaho
Joe Buckle
Michael Noone

Replacements
Sam Lockwood
Martin Garcia-Veiga
Danny Herriott
Nick Haining
Ryan Hodson
Joel Dudley
Grant Pointer


Any previous?

Not a sausage. Diddly-squat. This is the first competitive meeting between the teams, and almost certainly the first-ever game unless Worcester sneaked over for an under-the-radar Jersey Tour way back when. If they did, no-one is letting on.


Worcester - a Potted History

Worcester Warriors

Founded: 1871 (subsequently disbanded in 1896, but reformed in 1908)

Back in the Day: the club played opposite the New Road ground of Worcestershire County Cricket Club in the 1890s

Ground: Sixways was opened in 1975 by the esteemed Irish international Mike Gibson

Famous Sons: plenty of well-known names, especially during the Premiership years. How about a sample seven? Ben Clarke, Matt Kvesic and Craig Quinnell in the pack; Andy Gomarsall, Ben Gollings (well it is sevens), Rico Gear and Chris Latham as the backs

Jersey Connections: two seasons ago, Max Stelling, then 18, joined Jersey on a dual-registration deal which eventually lasted five months, playing 12 games and scoring three tries - now he's a first-team regular for Warriors. Not quite as recently there's John, King of England from 1199-1216: history does not look kindly on the monarch of 800 years ago, mostly because he lost large parts of the Angevin Empire in what is now Northern France. However he did keep hold of the Channel Islands, which have remained linked to the British Crown to this day... oh, and he's buried in Worcester Cathedral

Director of Rugby: Former Saracens, Wasps, Newcastle and Bristol back row man Dean Ryan was appointed in April 2013, having formerly spent seven seasons in coaching roles at Gloucester

League History: Worcester started in North Midlands League 1, Level 8 of the league pyramid in 1987/88. In 1997 and 1998 successive promotions saw them reach Level 2, and promotion to the Premiership eventually followed in 2004. Relegation in 2010 was followed by promotion back to the top at the earliest opportunity, but last season the Warriors were relegated again after a miserable season that featured just two wins, both at the tail-end of the season.



Other Rugby this Weekend

The GKIPA Championship programme is split neatly into three pairs. Friday's other game sees Plymouth trying to take advantage of Yorkshire Carnegie's poor form to get that elusive first win since March. On Saturday Doncaster host London Scottish while Nottingham travel to Moseley. Sunday's matches are the Pirates v Bedford and Bristol against Rotherham.

For the full Championship preview see HERE

In local rugby, on Saturday Jersey Athletic take on Old Albanians at St Peter at 12noon in the Zoo Sports Shield, with another international lunch in the Clubhouse to follow. The following day Jersey Ladies take on Lewes at 2.30pm, also at St Peter, while the Banks host the Buccs at Grainville at 12noon.


And Finally

A cheering thought for those Jersey supporters who can't make it off the Island for many away trips - after a meagre ration of home fixtures during the season just far - just four league and cup matches in three months, a relative glut of home action is just round the corner.

Starting next weekend the club has 11 home fixtures in just over five months, culminating with the Siam Cup in early May. And the first of these fixtures will be well worth seeing - Jersey's first-ever evening fixture under the St Peter lights will be the 'Friday Night Frenzy' (c) (TM) against Plymouth on Friday (that's right!) November 28th - a must!

Enjoy your weekend's rugby!

Tom Innes

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