Reds relish Ealing challenge on home turf15/02/2018
Playing and watching a match on home turf will have an extra special feel for Jersey Reds this Friday Night.
Beyond the anticipation of hosting old foes Ealing Trailfinders, flying high in this season's Greene King IPA Championship, the Reds are celebrating the repurchase of their clubhouse, grounds and other assets.
It was confirmed this week that new loan finance had enabled the club to buy back the assets sold in November 2016, and now attention can turn to matters on the field and one of the biggest challenges of the season to date.
Ealing have lost just three of their 15 Championship matches to date, including two close-run defeats to promotion favourites Bristol, who left London last Saturday night after a 27-28 win at Trailfinders' Vallis Way home.
Jersey and Ealing have built up a strong rivalry since first meeting in National 2 South in the 2010/11 season. The Reds had the better of the encounters in the National League era, winning three out of four contests and reaching the Championship a season ahead of Ealing. But the Championship record tilts the other way, with just one Jersey win in seven meetings to date.
The Reds come into the game on the back of one of their best results of the season, a thrilling 29-33 away win at Bedford last Friday night, outscoring a potent home attack by five tries to four.
Head Coach Harvey Biljon has made six changes to his starting XV for this week's contest under the Friday Night Lights at Stade Santander International. His main focus has been on the forwards, with front row trio Roy Godfrey, Jack Macfarlane and Leeroy Atalifo stepping up, while Dave Mckern comes in at lock for James Voss and former Ealing player Seb Nagle-Taylor takes Conor Joyce's place at openside flanker.
The back-line features just one change, with George Eastwell replacing Apakuki Ma'afu at inside centre. The Reds' bench includes 'displaced' front-rowers Jake Woolmore, Nick Selway and Jake Armstrong, Uili Kolo'ofa'i and Jake Upfield covering the back five of the pack, and backs Joel Dudley and Oli Bryant.
The match is part of a double-header weekend for the club, with Jersey Reds Athletic taking on Barnes in the Zoo Shield at 1.30pm on Saturday.
Jersey Reds squad v Ealing Trailfinders (H) - Greene King IPA Championship, Round 16/22, Friday February 16th, Stade Santander International, k-o 7.45pm
Scott Van Breda (co-capt)
Roy Godfrey (co-capt)
Nick Selway, Jake Woolmore, Jake Armstrong, Uili Kolo'ofa'i, Jake Upfield; Joel Dudley, Oli Bryant.