Quartet of players back for 2016/1708/01/2016
Just after the mid-point of the 2015/16 season, future planning at Jersey RFC has seen four players agree new deals to stay on the Island beyond the end of the current campaign.
The four players - Lewis Robling, Ross Adair, Rich Lane and Brendan Cope - will remain Jersey players into the 2016/17 season after featuring prominently in the first half of this season.
"Although there's a huge amount of rugby to be played this season, we want to build for the future and I'm delighted that four key members of our squad will be back at St Peter next season," said Head Coach Harvey Biljon.
Robling, 24, is the oldest of the quartet and will embark on his third season on the Island having joined Jersey in summer 2014 from Welsh region the Dragons. A centre who has occasionally been utilised at fly-half, Robling has started all 35 of Jersey's Greene King IPA Championship matches since his arrival, as well as making seven British & Irish Cup appearances, scoring three tries.
"Lewis has really matured as a player since coming to Jersey," said Biljon. "His leadership abilities have begun to shine through and he is set to be an important figure for the squad as we move forward."
Adair, who joined Jersey from Ulster in June 2015, is another who has featured in every Championship game so far, starting 11 matches and being introduced twice as a replacement, as well as a brace of Cup appearances and three tries in total. The 21-year-old wing earned international honours for Ireland at under 19 level in both rugby and cricket.
Lane, 22, spent three years with leading Aviva Premiership club Bath before coming to Jersey last summer. The former pupil of Millfield School in Somerset has played at full-back in nine Championship and three B&I matches for the Islanders.
Biljon added: "Both Ross and Rich have shown the raw potential that caused them to be on our radar as the current squad was put together in the first half of 2015. I expect them to continue their development and become stand-out Championship players."
22-year-old fly-half Cope moved to Europe from his native South Africa last summer to join the Islanders, since when he has started all 13 of his side's league matches this season and turned out twice in the B&I Cup. He has accumulated 113 points in all competitions and featured among the Championship's top points scorers.
"Brendan has settled into the English style of rugby well," said Biljon. "It's been a huge learning curve for him but he has seized the opportunity of his first professional contract and shown a great attitude, so I expect him to kick on during the latter part of this season and into 2016/17."
Jersey's Head Coach said that discussions with other players were ongoing and that he hoped to secure signatures on more contracts in the coming weeks.
Jersey's players return to training on Monday at the end of a short break following the festive programme of games over Christmas and New Year, and will be in action on home soil next weekend (Saturday January 16th) when the Dragons Premiership Select side visit St Peter for a B&I Cup tie. Jersey have two wins and a draw in the Cup so far and will be seeking another win which would avenge their 30-27 loss to the Dragons in November and set up a potential pool 5 decider against Doncaster Knights on January 23rd. Five pool winners and the three best-placed runners-up will contest the quarter-finals of the B&I on the second weekend of March.
Pics by Tania Richards, Jacquie Ranieri, Steve Lund, Rich Chapman and Sue Armes