Tricky Exiles hurdle awaits the Reds15/03/2018
/*STOP PRESS - late change to Reds' bench as George Eastwell withdraws through illness and recent loan signing James Newey comes in*/
Jersey Reds head to south-west London on Cheltenham Gold Cup day facing a tricky hurdle as they turn for home in this season's Greene King IPA Championship.
The two sides may be at opposite ends of the league's form table, with the Reds having claimed the scalp of table-toppers Bristol in their most recent outing, but the visitors know that they'll need similar levels of intensity to overcome an Exiles' line-up determined to end a run of six successive defeats in league and cup at Jersey's hands.
Head Coach Harvey Biljon has made just two changes to the squad which achieved the 34-38 win against Bristol at Ashton Gate, one in his starting pack and one on the bench.
Lock James Voss misses out with injury, leaving Dave Mckern to step into the Reds' engine room alongside Jerry Sexton. And another injury victim is hooker Jack Macfarlane - his place on the bench is claimed by Jared Saunders, set to make his first appearance since being injured himself at Nottingham at the start of December.
Prior to the current campaign, the two sides had met a dozen times, winning six apiece, since Jersey reached the Championship in 2012, a year after the Exiles had also achieved promotion from National 1. The Reds' first league win at this level was over the Scots at St Peter in 2012, but then the next five meetings went the way of the Londoners. The Reds achieved a double in 2015/16, and also gained three wins last season - one in the league and two in the B&I Cup, but arguably the most notable result was a thumping 10-36 win for the Exiles when they visited the Island in October 2016.
The Reds are nearing the end of a five-week period without a home game, but supporters on the Island have a brace of matches at Stade Santander International to look forward to before the end of this month. First of all Rotherham Titans will visit for a Championship game on Saturday March 24th, and then on the afternoon of Good Friday (March 30th), there's the British & Irish Cup quarter-final against Doncaster Knights. Special rates of £10 (members) and £12 (non-members) are available for the Cup fixture for those who book in advance via the Eventbrite site.
There'll be no double-header between Jersey and London Scottish this weekend with the Exiles unable to fulfil their Zoo Shield fixture against Jersey Reds Athletic. The Islanders' 2nd XV will instead travel to play a friendly fixture against Worthing Raiders 'A' XV. But there'll be no game for Jersey Reds Women after visitors Dorchester, Weymouth & Portland pulled out of their scheduled match.
Jersey Reds squad v London Scottish (A) - Greene King IPA Championship, Round 18/22, Friday March 16th, Richmond Athletic Ground, k-o 7.45pm
Scott Van Breda (co-capt)
Jake Woolmore (co-capt)
Jared Saunders, Roy Godfrey, Alec Clarey, Uili Kolo'ofa'i, Jake Upfield; Joel Dudley, James Newey (replaces George Eastwell).