Jersey Reds head to Gloucestershire this weekend knowing not to underestimate the challenge of a fired-up home side.
Last Saturday it was the Reds who ran out on their home ground determined to make a statement against higher-ranked opponents. Former table-toppers Cornish Pirates were defeated by an emphatic 33-10 scoreline, but this week the boot is on the other foot, with Hartpury the team looking to show that their current league standing – 11th in the Greene King IPA Championship table – doesn’t reflect their ability.
In beating the Pirates at Stade Santander International, the Reds balanced up their playing record for the league season so far, with three consecutive victories added to the trio of narrow defeats that started the campaign. With six bonus points, the Island side currently stand sixth in the Championship table, one place below their final ranking last season.
The Reds’ squad to face Hartpury sees just one switch, with on-loan Harlequins’ scrum-half given his first start in the number 9 shirt, with Will Homer switching to the bench. Jerry Sexton retains the captaincy and will pack down in the second row alongside Charlie Beckett, who played two Championship games for Hartpury last season on a dual-registration agreement with Gloucester.
It’s the third meeting between the sides since Hartpury reached the Championship just over a year ago after taking National 1 by storm in 2016/17. In the opening Championship match to be staged at the Gillman’s Ground last September, the visitors from Jersey recovered from the concession of two early tries to claim a win by 19-20 thanks to tries from Kieran Hardy and Tom Pincus, with Brendan Cope contributing 10 points from the kicking tee. The return match just before Christmas was another close affair, with the Reds winning 18-14 thanks to tries from Jason Worrall and Gloucester-born Nick Selway, plus three successful kicks at goal by Cope.
The game will be streamed live via the Championship website and England Rugby social media channels.
There’s no game for Jersey’s Athletic XV this weekend, but Jersey Reds Women are in action and will host Southampton at Stade Santander International – the game kicks off at 12noon.
Jersey Reds 1st XV squad v Hartpury RFC (A) – Greene King IPA Championship Round 8/22*, Saturday October 20th, Gillman’s Ground, k-o 2.30pm
Leroy Van Dam
Jerry Sexton (capt)
Nick Selway, Cameron Holenstein, Sam Rodman, Dave McKern, Rory Bartle; Will Homer, Brett Herron.
* Round 3: Reds v London Irish – rescheduled from Sept 15th to Nov 3rd