Christmas in Cornwall may sound like an enticing prospect, but Jersey head to the Mennaye Field knowing that few visiting sides come away with gift-wrapped victories.
The Islanders have yet to win in four matches against the Cornish Pirates in Penzance, and having begun 2015 with defeat at the Mennaye, they will be striving to avoid ending the year in the same fashion.
Both sides are in good form ahead of this Sunday's Greene King IPA Championship clash. Jersey have won three consecutive league matches for the first time in four seasons at this level, with victories in five of their past seven games in all competitions; the Pirates have also won five out of seven, moving away from the bottom of the Championship table and being well-placed to qualify for the quarter-finals of the British & Irish Cup.
Harvey Biljon, Head Coach of the Island side (pictured above), will be returning to the club where he was Assistant Coach for four-and-a-half seasons before moving to Jersey two years ago. Biljon's chosen squad is largely consistent with his selections for the last three Championship matches.
Jersey's starting XV shows three changes from the most recent league outing, the 35-7 home win over Ealing Trailfinders at the start of December. In the pack, Danny Herriott is selected at tight-head prop, with Oli Tomaszczyk switching to the bench, while Tongan international Uili Kolo'ofa'i starts at number 8.
Impressive displays in the recent B&I wins over Connacht have seen Oli Evans and Tommy Spinks force their way into the squad. Evans is selected at outside centre in place of Fautua Otto, while back row man Spinks will be among Jersey's replacements.
As well as the familiar face in charge, the visitors have another ex-Pirate in their ranks, with Cornish-born Aaron Penberthy selected at full-back against the team he represented for a season-and-a-half before joining Jersey in summer 2013.
After the trip to Cornwall in what some observers have referred to ironically as a local derby, Jersey will be heading home for Hogmanay, and on the second day of 2016 will welcome Doncaster Knights to St Peter.
The Knights have enjoyed an excellent start to the season, winning eight of their opening 11 games to lie second in the table going into Christmas, and have chartered a Boeing 737 to transport their players, coaches and almost 100 supporters for the day-trip to the largest Channel Island. Jersey will be seeking to avenge September's 31-27 defeat at Castle Park in the return match, which kicks off at 2.30pm on Saturday January 2nd.
To see the Pirates line-up, and full preview/teams for the other five matches this weekend, see HERE
Jersey v Cornish Pirates (A) - Greene King IPA Championship, Sunday December 27th, The Mennaye Field, k-o 2pm
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