Reds get ready for season-opening 'Test'

27/07/2018

There'll be a test match atmosphere to the first game of the season at Stade Santander International, with the Reds lining up against French Pro D2 opponents RC Vannes.

The two clubs, who are each other's nearest professional rugby team in spite of competing in different national leagues, met in the Breton coastal resort of Arzon, near Vannes, last summer with the hosts running out 38-14 winners.

RC Vannes were formed in 1950. The club reached the third level of the French domestic game - Fédérale 1 - in 2006 and a decade later gained promotion to Pro D2. In their debut season the Breton side finished 11th of the 16 clubs in the division, and last season they went one better, placing 10th in the final standings.

Vannes were particularly strong on their home turf at Stade de la Rabine last season, where they claimed 11 of their 12 league wins in front of crowds averaging 7,469 - the fourth-highest in Pro D2 and making up - on average - 79% of their stadium's 9,500 capacity. Their playing record contrasts with that of Jersey Reds for 2017/18, which featured more wins and league points away from home than at Stade Santander International.

Winger Gwenaël Duplenne was the club's top try-scorer last season with 23, the second-highest figure in Pro D2, and fly-half Christopher Hilsenbeck, a German international, scored 177 points from his place-kicking.

Our Breton opponents have two fixtures before starting their Pro D2 league campaign. Another second-tier club, Bourg-en-Bresse, will travel to Arzon to play RCV on Thursday August 9th, and by a quirk of the fixture list the two sides will also meet in the league opener in Bourg, near Lyon, on Friday August 17th.

The Head Coach of Vannes is 44-year-old Jean-Noël Spitzer, a former back row player for the club who took up the coaching reins after retiring in 2005, with RCV promoted to Fédérale 1 at the end of his first season in charge. Both Jersey Reds and RCV have taken on a new Backs Coach over the off-season, with Ed Robinson arriving at Stade Santander and the New Zealander Gerard Fraser newly in post in Brittany.

The home side will be led out by Roy Godfrey, named the Reds' captain for the coming season. Five new signings will make their debut from the start, with another eight in the line-up scheduled to take to the field after half-time. Premiership referee Craig Maxwell-Keys will take charge.

Jersey Reds

1st Half

1. Roy Godfrey (capt)
2. Nick Selway
3. Alec Clarey
4. Dave Mckern
5. Charlie Beckett
6. Max Argyle
7. Jake Upfield
8. Janco Venter
9. Hilton Mudariki
10. Brett Herron
11. Josh Hodson
12. Mark Best
13. James Newey
14. Leroy Van Dam
15. Jason Worrall
 
2nd Half

1. Cameron Holenstein
2. Charlie Maddison/ Jack Macfarlane
3. Leeroy Atalifo
4. Adam Batt
5. Rory Bartle
6. TBC
7. Graham Geldenhuys
8. Kyle Hatherell
9. Will Homer
10. TBC
11. Jack Stapley
12. George Eastwell
13. Koch Marx
14. TBC
15. Auguy Slowik


RC Vannes

1st Half

1. Sunia Vola
2. Cyril Blanchard
3. Paga Tafili
4. Etienne Delangle
5. Javier Lagioiosa
6. Carwyn Jones
7. Hugh Chalmers
8. Kitione Kamikamica
9. Clément Payenne
10. Christopher Hilsenbeck
11. Pacôme Goujon
12. Kevin Burgaud
13. Fred Hickes
14. Gwenaël Duplenne
15. Pierre Popelin

2nd Half

1. Rémi Seneca
2. Leeroy Cloostermans/Pat Leafa
3. Pierre Maïau/ Phil Kite
4. Andrew Cramond
5. Rémi Picquette
6. Jérémie Abiven
7. Wandrille Picault
8. TBC
9. Jules Le Bail/ Tim Menzel
10. Yann Cailat
11. Faraj Fartass
12. Alexandre Mourot
13. Jean-Baptiste Pic
14. Anthony Bouthier
15. Branden Holder

Referee: Craig Maxwell-Keys (RFU), AR's: Christophe Ridley (RFU) & Nick Marshall (RFU), No 4: John Gleave (JSY)

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