Fresh from a rare weekend off, Jersey's players return to action this weekend seeking to achieve the club's first win over London Welsh at the fourth attempt.
The two sides met twice in what was eventually a promotion-winning campaign for London Welsh in 2013/14, with an even tussle at St Peter, won 26-33 by the visitors, followed by a one-sided affair at the Kassam Stadium in Oxford. On their return to the Greene King IPA Championship this season, the Exiles reverted to their ancestral home at London's Old Deer Park, where they edged a tight match against Jersey by 14-8 last October.
While London Welsh were able to ease fears of being dragged into a relegation battle by beating Nottingham 22-18 in their most recent outing, Jersey showed they weren't to be discounted as play-off contenders by coming back to defeat fourth-placed Bedford 18-25 at Goldington Road.
There are just two changes to the Jersey starting XV. Pierce Phillips is back in the second row in place of Uili Kolo'ofa'i, with the Tongan taking Dave Markham's spot on the replacements' bench. The other switch is a rotational one at hooker, with Nick Selway starting the game and Martin Garcia-Veiga switching to the bench.
After some extreme winter weather that saw Jersey's daffodil crop ready two months ahead of schedule after a balmy December, the Island's wettest January on record and an equally damp start to February, the build-up to the final match before spring starts next week has been uncharacteristically dry.
The home club are hoping that the settled weather, an additional corporate marquee and the chance to take in live rugby and the 6 Nations clash between England and Ireland will attract a large crowd to St Peter. Jersey and London Welsh will kick off at the earlier time of 2pm.
Jersey squad v London Welsh (H) - GKIPA Championship, Saturday February 27th, St Peter, k-o 2pm
Alex Rae (capt)
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