Skipper Scott's return boosts Reds

29/12/2017

Revised announcement, Sunday 10am: Jersey Reds have been forced to make squad changes for their final match of 2017, the New Year's Eve contest against the Cornish Pirates at the Mennaye Field.

Fly-half and leading points scorer Brendan Cope has been ruled out and is replaced by Truro-born Oli Bryant. And concern about scrum-half Kieran Hardy means that Joel Dudley will start at number 9, with Hardy and Josh Hodson providing back-line cover from the bench.

Original announcement: Captain Scott van Breda will make his return to Jersey Reds' colours for the final match of 2017, a New Year's Eve contest against the Cornish Pirates at the Mennaye Field.

Recovered after suffering a facial injury in the match against league leaders Bristol at the end of October, van Breda has regained fitness and will don the full-back shirt, which means Jason Worrall is selected at left wing ahead of Josh Hodson.

Van Breda is one of three new faces to the line-up who began the pre-Christmas 18-14 league win over Hartpury at Stade Santander International. Apakuki Ma'afu returns at centre in place of Oli Bryant, while Uili Kolo'ofa'i starts at second row ahead of James Voss in an otherwise unchanged pack.

Bryant and Voss are among the replacement ranks for the Reds, where there's also a return for back row man Rory Bartle eight weeks after being injured in the home league match with London Scottish.

The Reds will be looking to complete an undefeated December, which thus far has included a Championship draw at Nottingham, back-to-back B&I Cup victories over London Scottish and last Friday's home win over Hartpury. But they're aware this won't be easy, having been defeated on five of their six previous visits to the Mennaye Field.

The lone Jersey win on Cornish soil was in March this year, when Sean McCarthy's try, converted by Callum Sheedy, was enough to clinch a narrow Championship win, with Kyle Moyle's try the Pirates' only score. This result forms part of a four-match winning streak over the Pirates, which also included the 19-13 home win at the start of this season, when Tom Pincus (2) and Roy Godfrey claimed the home side's tries. Overall the clubs have won seven matches apiece in league and cup since Jersey were promoted to the Championship in 2012.

In this season's Greene King IPA Championship, both clubs have won five of their opening 12 fixtures. The Reds also have a draw to their name, but are nevertheless five points behind the Pirates, who have 10 bonus points thus far to their opponents' three.

Faced with some testing travel logistics for the New Year's Eve fixture, the Reds have once again chartered flights from Jersey to Newquay, meaning that the playing squad and around 35 supporters will make the journey on Saturday and should be back home on the Island by 8pm in time for New Year festivities. For the players, this will signal the start of a week off before the squad regroups ahead of the home B&I Cup clash with Dragons Select, which will be the first game of 2018 at Stade Santander International and takes place on Friday January 12th (kick-off 7.45pm).


REVISED Jersey Reds squad v Cornish Pirates (A) - Greene King IPA Championship Round 13/22, Sunday December 31st, Mennaye Field, Penzance, k-o 2pm

Changes in bold

Backs (15-9)

Scott Van Breda (capt)
Tom Pincus
Apakuki Ma'afu
Mark Best
Jason Worrall
Oli Bryant
Joel Dudley

Forwards (1-8)

Jake Woolmore
Nick Selway
Jake Armstrong
Jerry Sexton
Uili Kolo'ofa'i
Max Argyle
Conor Joyce
Matt Rogerson

Replacements

Jack Macfarlane, Roy Godfrey, Leeroy Atalifo, James Voss, Rory Bartle; Kieran Hardy, Josh Hodson

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