Two new faces have joined the Jersey Reds squad this month and will be part of the squad for the Friday Night Lights home game with Yorkshire Carnegie.
New signing Jake Upfield, a lock/ back row forward, has flown in from Australia, while Jersey boy Scott McClurg, a regular face in the Jersey Reds Athletic back line, has been training part-time with the 1st XV squad; both players will be handed opportunities to impress from the bench in this week's British & Irish Cup line-up.
Upfield, 22, has recently completed the Australian domestic season playing for Bond University in the Queensland Premier Rugby competition. He completed a double degree in Business and Commerce at Bond University, which is situated on the Gold Coast just south of Brisbane, and was formerly part of the Queensland Schoolboys squad and a reserve/shadow player for Australian Schoolboys.
Head Coach Harvey Biljon said: "As has happened with other players in the recent past, we've identified someone who we believe has genuine potential and can now develop in a full-time environment where we can develop his strength and conditioning and his skills. Jake has great athleticism and is a great line-out operator - he's an exciting prospect for the club."
Former Les Quennevais pupil McClurg is a centre who has been one of the Athletic's stand-out players over the past 13 months, and has now agreed with his employer that he can adjust his working hours to be able to train with the 1st XV squad on Tuesdays and Thursdays.
Biljon added: "Scott's been someone who we've definitely seen impressing for Athletic last season and this, and we'd noticed him committing to extra training, so this is a progression that allows him to join the full-timers two days a week, and he's contributed really well so far. He's got his chance a little earlier than expected, but sometimes opportunities arise in that way and it's up to the player to seize them."
Biljon and Athletic Head Coach Myles Landick both mentioned the positive feature of a pathway for talented players between the 1st XV squad and the Reds' amateur 2nd XV.
Landick said: "Scott has been developing tremendously and his training experience with the 1st XV is bringing his learning and understanding of the game, along with his skills, to a new level."
Apprentice electrician McClurg paid tribute to his employer, D.I.S. Electrical, for the willingness to adjust his working schedule to accommodate his rugby playing.
"They've been very supportive and the 1st team players have really helped me to settle in," he said. "The chance to be in the squad has come sooner that I dreamed it would but I'm determined to enjoy the experience and give it my best shot."
Upfield and McClurg will be on the bench for Friday's match with Carnegie, which is the first match of the 2017/18 British & Irish Cup, a competition that the Reds reached the final of last season, only to lose by a point to Munster 'A' in Cork. Kick-off under the Friday Night Lights at Stade Santander International is at 7.45pm.
Jake Upfield wins lineout ball for Bond University
Scott McClurg crosses for a try for Jersey Reds Athletic last month (pic by Jacquie Ranieri)
31 Mar 2023
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