Following the departure of Director of Rugby Ben Harvey, Jersey
will switch their attention to an important match this weekend with
Forwards Coach Steve Boden taking over as Interim Head Coach.
Jersey take on Cornish Pirates at the Mennaye Field on Saturday
evening (k-o 7pm) in the British & Irish Cup, with both clubs
looking to boost their chances of qualifying for the knock-out
stages through success in the back-to-back fixtures in rounds three
Boden said he been impressed by the way the squad had quickly
adjusted their focus from off-field distractions to preparations
for for an important game this weekend.
"The boys trained really well yesterday [Thursday] and are very
focused on Saturday's game," he said. "It's a game we're looking to
win, but more important than that is to raise our level of
performance from where it's been over the last couple of weeks,
particularly against Ealing - we need to start playing better, and
I know that it'll be a lot more enjoyable when we do."
Boden had no time for any suggestions that the British &
Irish Cup was a lesser competition to the regular diet of league
action in the Greene King IPA Championship.
"I'm not looking at this as a cup game, or a league game, it's a
Jersey 1st team game, and if anyone's suggesting it's less
important, I'd say their attitude isn't good enough - I expect my
squad to be fully committed," he said.
Injuries have taken their toll, with regulars such as Sean
McCarthy and Dave Young out of the squad, and a continued shortage
of backs meaning Latu Makaafi, normally a flanker, will cover the
three-quarter line from the bench. This has led to starting berths
for regular bench players like Tom Fidler, Nick Selway, Dave
Markham and James Voss, a return from injury for Fred Silcock
(pictured below), and further opportunities for talented Academy
graduates Jack Burroughs and Luke Stratford.
"We are a bit short in some areas, but if we go into this game
with the right attitude that will more than make up for it," he
said. "There are also people coming in who have the chance to make
their case for selection in the next two games before Christmas and
in the second half of the season, and I hope they'll give me some
problems when I come to pick the squad in future weeks.
"We gave one of our better performances against Pirates three
weeks ago, although we did make it hard for ourselves by conceding
some soft tries early on. We'll be looking to build on that, but I
also expect a backlash from Pirates - they'll be looking to show
their home fans what they can do."
Although reluctant to dwell on the departure of Director of
Rugby Ben Harvey earlier in the week, Boden said: "Ben made a
massive contribution to this club and he gave me my first coaching
role, so I'll always respect him. But that's in the past now, and
we need to head onwards and upwards."
The JRFC preview to the match is available HERE
Jersey squad v Cornish Pirates (British & Irish Cup)
(A) - December 7th 2013, k-o 7pm
Tom Brown (capt)
Elvis Taione, Luke Stratford, Jon Brennan, Alex Rae, Joe Buckle,
Jimmy Williams, Latu Makaafi
Why not get yourself a Hot Pot (Curry or Chilli served with rice) in the supporters marquee £8 per pot.