Reds confirm six props for 2017/1827/04/2017
Jersey Reds have completed their front row options in the squad for the 2017/18 season.
Four new props will arrive on the Island ahead of pre-season training in June, joining two members of the existing squad who will be extending their time with the Reds.
Lee Roy Atalifo will become the first Fijian to join Jersey ranks - the tight-head has nine caps for his country, including two matches in the 2015 Rugby World Cup, and an appearance against England at Twickenham last November. The 28-year-old's previous clubs include Canterbury in New Zealand and Rugby Rovigo Delta in Italy.
Another tight-head, 23-year-old Alec Clarey, has been with Bristol for the past season, featuring in several Aviva 'A' League matches, as well as making ongoing appearances - around 40 in total in the National Leagues - for Hartpury RFC, who he has helped to the National One title this season. Born in Bishop Auckland, County Durham, Clarey went to Barnard Castle School before gaining a scholarship to Hartpury College and going on to represent England Students.
On the other side of the front row, loose-head prop Roy Godfrey will bring a wealth of experience when he arrives at St Peter. Born in East London in South Africa, Godfrey (27) was part of the Natal Sharks set-up as a youngster and subsequently played for SWD Eagles and Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University in Port Elizabeth, and represented South Africa Universities in a 2013 match against the Namibian test team. He has also played in France for Perpignan and most recently in England in a player-coach role for Wimbledon, with whom he'll seek to clinch promotion to National Two South in a play-off game this weekend.
Jordan Brodley, 23, also plays loose-head and will move to Jersey after completing his studies at the University of Bristol, where he is finishing a MSc in Management having formerly gained a BA in Archaeology & Anthropology. As well as being a regular in the university team, the Oxford-born prop has represented Bristol in the Aviva 'A' League and played for clubs including Clifton, Marlow, Avonmouth and Bridgewater & Albion.
The Reds have also confirmed a new contract for tight-head Jake Armstrong, who joined Jersey from Championship rivals Doncaster Knights in summer 2016. The 23-year-old has since made around 20 competitive appearances and scored three tries this season.
The final prop in the 2017/18 ranks is 26-year-old loose-head Jake Woolmore, whose existing contract runs into next season, as previously announced. Woolmore made his debut for the Reds in April 2016 and moved permanently from Exeter Chiefs in the summer of last year - he has appeared in around 25 competitive games for Jersey in total.
Head Coach Harvey Biljon welcomed the news of confirmed deals for the six players, who will join hookers Jack Macfarlane, Jared Saunders and Nick Selway as the Reds' members of the 'front row union'.
"Jersey has become known for having a strong pack, and although we've developed more of an 'all-court' game this season, our forwards still play a vital role in what we do," said Head Coach Harvey Biljon. "We have had some very successful prop forwards in recent seasons, with the likes of Jon Brennan, Harry Williams and Sam Lockwood being named in Championship dream teams, and Harry recently earning an England call-up, plus Simon Kerrod who's another player heading for the Premiership.
"I'm really pleased that we'll have six talented props reporting for pre-season training and competing for places once we start playing matches - there is a great mix of experience in Roy and Lee Roy, the latter with international caps to his name, and younger players like Alec and Jordan with genuine potential. Let's not forget Jake Armstrong and Jake Woolmore, who have both made really important contributions this season."
The majority of the Reds' professionals finished their season last Friday when Jersey suffered an agonising 29-28 defeat to Munster 'A' in the final of the British & Irish Cup. The last match of the season will see the Reds host Guernsey Raiders in the 2017 Ipes Siam Cup - a mixture of professional and amateur players will take on Jersey's local rivals, and the day will also feature three other matches for the 2nd, Veteran and Women's teams from the rival Channel Island clubs. Full details about the Siam including timings, tickets etc can be found HERE