Boden names squad for Pirates06/12/2013
Following the departure of Director of Rugby Ben Harvey, Jersey will switch their attention to an important match this weekend with Forwards Coach Steve Boden taking over as Interim Head Coach.
Jersey take on Cornish Pirates at the Mennaye Field on Saturday evening (k-o 7pm) in the British & Irish Cup, with both clubs looking to boost their chances of qualifying for the knock-out stages through success in the back-to-back fixtures in rounds three and four.
Boden said he been impressed by the way the squad had quickly adjusted their focus from off-field distractions to preparations for for an important game this weekend.
"The boys trained really well yesterday [Thursday] and are very focused on Saturday's game," he said. "It's a game we're looking to win, but more important than that is to raise our level of performance from where it's been over the last couple of weeks, particularly against Ealing - we need to start playing better, and I know that it'll be a lot more enjoyable when we do."
Boden had no time for any suggestions that the British & Irish Cup was a lesser competition to the regular diet of league action in the Greene King IPA Championship.
"I'm not looking at this as a cup game, or a league game, it's a Jersey 1st team game, and if anyone's suggesting it's less important, I'd say their attitude isn't good enough - I expect my squad to be fully committed," he said.
Injuries have taken their toll, with regulars such as Sean McCarthy and Dave Young out of the squad, and a continued shortage of backs meaning Latu Makaafi, normally a flanker, will cover the three-quarter line from the bench. This has led to starting berths for regular bench players like Tom Fidler, Nick Selway, Dave Markham and James Voss, a return from injury for Fred Silcock (pictured below), and further opportunities for talented Academy graduates Jack Burroughs and Luke Stratford.
"We are a bit short in some areas, but if we go into this game with the right attitude that will more than make up for it," he said. "There are also people coming in who have the chance to make their case for selection in the next two games before Christmas and in the second half of the season, and I hope they'll give me some problems when I come to pick the squad in future weeks.
"We gave one of our better performances against Pirates three weeks ago, although we did make it hard for ourselves by conceding some soft tries early on. We'll be looking to build on that, but I also expect a backlash from Pirates - they'll be looking to show their home fans what they can do."
Although reluctant to dwell on the departure of Director of Rugby Ben Harvey earlier in the week, Boden said: "Ben made a massive contribution to this club and he gave me my first coaching role, so I'll always respect him. But that's in the past now, and we need to head onwards and upwards."
The JRFC preview to the match is available HERE
Jersey squad v Cornish Pirates (British & Irish Cup)
(A) - December 7th 2013, k-o 7pm
Tom Brown (capt)
Elvis Taione, Luke Stratford, Jon Brennan, Alex Rae, Joe Buckle, Jimmy Williams, Latu Makaafi