Pre-season rugby feast at St Peter21/08/2015
For the final appetiser before the start of the 2015/16, Jersey and Blackheath are set to serve up a three-course feast of rugby this Saturday
The Island hosts and England's oldest club will stage a three-match 'test series' in a single afternoon at St Peter, with the men's 1st and 2nd teams, plus the two clubs' ladies XVs, all doing battle.
For Jersey Head Coach Harvey Biljon, the occasion will be a chance to renew acquaintances with the club where he was Player-Coach from 2005-09; Biljon's 1st XV squad will take on a side coached by his former team-mate Simon Legg.
Jersey took on 'Club' twice in National Division One in 2011/12, winning 23-27 at Rectory Field in south-east London and completing the double with a 32-5 victory at St Peter. Jersey finished the season as National One champions, while the Londoners were third in the table.
The two clubs also locked horns at St Peter 12 months ago, with the Islanders scoring seven tries in a 47-12 pre-season win.
Biljon pledged to give all available members of his 1st XV squad game-time during the trio of pre-season matches, Jersey having also taken on Plymouth Albion (won 43-15) and the Scarlets (lost 27-40). And this weekend he will welcome back hookers Martin Garcia-Veiga and Russell Anderson (pictured above and below) after injury, the latter set to make his Jersey debut off the bench.
Six members of Jersey's starting pack remain from the line-up who faced Scarlets, with flanker Charlie Butterworth drafted in ahead of James Freeman. In the backs, four of the seven starting players remain - the changes see Brendan Cope selected at fly-half, with Aaron Penberthy shifting to full-back, and Jack Burroughs on the wing in place of Mark McCrea.
All of Jersey's 1st team squad will have featured in pre-season action, with the exceptions of hooker Joe Buckle, a long-term injury victim, flanker Gary Graham - who is recovering from a rib injury sustained in training - and scrum-half Sami Fisilau, selected this week to represent his native Tonga in the forthcoming Rugby World Cup.
The visitors' 1st XV squad for Saturday's 4.30pm finale is set to include England-based Jerseyman Tom Ellis, who played his rugby in National Two South for Cambridge last season but has now moved up to the National One outfit who last season ranked sixth out of the 16 clubs in National One.
While no league points will be at stake in the 1st XV match, the contest between Jersey Athletic and Blackheath Heathens is the first Zoo Sports Shield match of the season for each club.
Last season the visitors from London won 17-27 at the start of the season where there was little to choose between the two clubs, who eventually finished fourth and fifth in the final Zoo Shield table. Jersey's new Head Coach Myles Landick has selected a young squad peppered with experience in the shape of former 1st XV players David Felton - the hooker (pictured below) captains the side - Brian Rennison in the back row and scrum-half Brendan O'Brien.
Ahead of the 2nd XV game at 1.30pm, the Ladies teams will open the show, kicking off at 12noon. The Londoners play at Championship SE 2, level three of the women's pyramid in England, a level above their hostesses (pictured below), with both sides seeking to start their season strongly.
Admission to the triple-header is just £5 for adults, with under 18s free. A rolling carvery lunch will be served all afternoon from 12noon and there will be international matches on the big screens in the evening after the live rugby has finished.
Jersey 1st XV squad v Blackheath - 2015/16 Pre-Season Match, Saturday August 22nd, St Peter, k-o 4.30pm
Alex Rae (capt)
Jersey Athletic squad v Blackheath Heathens - Zoo Sports Shield Division One, Saturday August 22nd, St Peter, k-o 1.30pm
Dom Mayo, Dan Lezala, Jonny Glendening, Matt Kaye, Matt Michel, Alex Jefferys, Brendan O'Brien; Jacob Carter, David Felton (capt), Chris Pople, Tom Tilstone, Tim Corson, Craig Simeon, Stephen de St Croix, Brian Rennison.
George Banks, Andy Pitcher, David Day, Harrison Berresford, Chris Voss, Wayne Boschat, Adam Spencer.
Jersey Ladies squad v Blackheath Women - 2015/16 Pre-Season Match, Saturday August 22nd, St Peter, k-o 12noon
Fiona MacKinnon, Izzy Bougeard, Estefanía Santos Barea, Holly Bentley, Mary Surcouf, Rosie Corbett (capt), Natasha Eastwood; Cara Mackay, Elsa Rocha, Alice Bougourd, Harriett Joyce, Anel Crowther, Kim Vallance, Chelsea Cooper, Becky Thorne.
Beth Rosser, Rachel Marsh, Sara Felton, Lucy Hart, Ann Brien, Toni Judd.