Reds confirm trio of pre-season matches

18/05/2016

Jersey RFC will prepare for the club's fifth season in the second tier of English rugby with three pre-season matches in August on their home turf at St Peter.

Aviva Premiership club Worcester Warriors will provide the climax to the three-match build-up when they face the Reds on Saturday August 20th. Earlier in the month, Jersey will host two sides from National One - Coventry on Saturday August 6th and Ampthill on Saturday August 13th.

The match against Worcester will evoke memories of the 2014/15 season when the sides contested two thrilling encounters in the Greene King IPA Championship before the Warriors subsequently earned promotion via the play-offs. Jersey went down 32-29 at Sixways but then derailed Worcester's 24-match unbeaten run at St Peter with a 23-21 win sealed by Aaron Penberthy's late drop goal from 45 metres.

                          Worcester Warriors

Reds' Head Coach Harvey Biljon said he was delighted to have secured Premiership opposition for his side's final warm-up encounter.

"Taking on Worcester will be a really serious final exam for our squad before the league season starts. After consolidating their Premiership status this season, I know Warriors will be looking to push on in 2016/17 and will have a talented squad of players making the trip. This is a great opportunity to test ourselves against a top-tier team.

"Our supporters will no doubt recall the home game against Worcester two seasons ago, and while a lot has happened since that match, we believe this has the potential to be an equally memorable game."

Worcester Warriors Director of Rugby Dean Ryan said: “Jersey is a tough place to go as we found out during the 2014/15 Championship season.
 
“It’ll be a challenge for us to go overseas and apply ourselves against a well-drilled side.”

                                                    Cov Rugby Logo

After a ninth-placed finish in National One this season, Coventry have ambitions to move up the table and challenge for promotion to the Championship. A new coaching and management structure, led by former Northampton Saints and Cambridge Coach Rowland Winter, has been assembled in time for 2016/17. Jersey and Coventry met twice in National One in 2011/12, with the match at Butts Park Arena on the penultimate weekend of the season being the day the Reds sealed promotion thanks to a 13-37 win.

                                        Ampthill Logo

Coached by former Wales fly-half Paul Turner, whose son Tommy lives in Jersey and has played for the Island's 1st XV and Athletic sides, Ampthill finished fourth in National One this season, just a point behind runners-up Hartpury College. The Bedfordshire club met Jersey in the National Three Championship final at Twickenham in 2010, when the Reds won by 21-12.

Harvey Biljon added: "Both Coventry and Ampthill will be tough opponents - they are clubs who I expect to see in the mix at the top end of National One next April.

"If you look at the new coaching team at Coventry there is a lot of Championship experience, and they are clearly ambitious. Ampthill have had a great season and their squad includes some very experienced players who I'm sure will relish showing what they can do against a team from the division above."

The full schedule for the start of 2016/17 is as follows:

  • Saturday August 6th: Jersey v Coventry
  • Saturday August 13th: Jersey v Ampthill
  • Saturday August 20th: Jersey v Worcester Warriors
  • Weekend of September 2-4: Opening round of Greene King IPA Championship

Exact kick-off times for the August matches will be confirmed shortly.

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