Preview & squad for Moseley (H) 25.4.1524/04/2015
On the day when legendary jump jockey AP McCoy will ride for the final time, Jersey will be looking for a surge towards the finishing post of the 2014/15 league season.
The final hurdle of the Islanders' third campaign in the Greene King IPA Championship is against Moseley this Saturday. A win at St Peter should propel the Islanders up to seventh place in the table - as long as Yorkshire Carnegie beat Cornish Pirates at Headingley. This would be in significant contrast to the last two seasons, when drama in the closing weekends of the season prefaced narrow escapes from the relegation trapdoor and successive 11th-placed finishes.
Moseley, seventh in the Championship table in 2013/14, will finish 11th this time around, having banished relegation fears ahead of their decisive match against Plymouth Albion last weekend with an equally decisive result - victory by 29-0.
A win over the men from Birmingham in the season finale won't be easy - Moseley are a side Jersey have yet to beat in five previous encounters. The last time the sides met on the Island the hosts suffered a hefty 8-39 defeat, and although they performed better at Billesley Common on the opening weekend of this season, Jersey let slip a half-time lead and the game ended 22-all.
Harvey Biljon's squad are also suffering with a serious end-of-season injury list. A creditable display at Bristol last week (the Islanders eventually went down 40-29) came at a cost, with injuries for prop Danny Herriott, hooker Joe Buckle (who had been playing in his old position of flanker) and lock Pierce Phillips.
In selecting his personnel for this Saturday's game, Biljon is able to recall Nick Haining and Ryan Hodson to the back row alongside skipper Alex Rae, while Dave Markham starts at lock.
The back-line sees just a single change from the Bristol trip, with scrum-half Sami Fisilau returning in place of Ryan Glynn.
The effects of the injury toll is apparent on Jersey's bench, which will feature an unusual 3:4 split of forwards and backs. The forwards comprise props Nacho Lancuba and Nick Selway - with Selway also covering hooker - and back row 'PK' Kaho. Also selected are Glynn, David Bishop, Tobias Hoskins and Jack Burroughs, the latter poised for a return to 1st XV action after a lengthy spell of injury.
As well as improving their final placing in the Championship table, Jersey will hope for a bumper crowd to take the club beyond their average attendance for last season of 2,109 - the average thus far in this campaign is 2,102.
After the encounter with Moseley, Jersey have just one more
match to round out 2014/15, the annual encounter against Channel
Island rivals Guernsey. The Ipes Siam
Cup takes place at St Peter on Saturday May 2nd.
Jersey squad v Moseley 'H' - Greene King IPA Championship, Saturday April 17th, St Peter, k-o 3pm
Alex Rae (capt)
Check out the preview for the final round of the regular season in GKIPAC - HERE
Lots of other important issues across the league this w/e; see programme article tomorrow for more detail.
Enjoy your weekend's rugby!