Jersey look for B&I boost prior to
crucial 'Christmas cracker' clash
Barring a freak sequence of results, Jersey will bow out of this
season's British & Irish Cup this Saturday after the away clash
with Carmarthen Quins.
The Islanders would need an early Yuletide miracle to seize the
eighth and final spot in the B&I knock-out stages, but will
nevertheless be looking for a good result on what is only Jersey's
second-ever trip to Wales for a competitive match. A win against
the team from the Scarlets' region would seal second place in Pool
5 and set Jersey up nicely for a crucial Greene King IPA
Championship 'Christmas cracker' clash with Yorkshire Carnegie on
home soil the following weekend.
The Quins visited St Peter in October on the opening weekend of
the B&I and were in contention at 17-10 down early in the
second half, before the Channel Island hosts pulled clear to
register a 37-17 win (click score for match report).
Since then, the two sides have jostled for supremacy in Pool 5 with
Cup holders Leinster 'A', but the Irishmen have now pulled away and
are certain to win the group, regardless of the result of their
home game against Plymouth Albion this weekend.
Jersey's previous fixture in Wales in January 2013 fell foul of
the weather, when Pontypridd's Sardis Road ground was buried under
deep snow (pictured above).
The game was eventually played in April of that year, with an
inexperienced Jersey side going down 48-17 while many of
their team-mates focused on a must-win relegation decider against
Doncaster the following weekend; the Islanders edged the Knights 13-10 to book another
season of Championship - and B&I - rugby.
This Saturday's match will be hosted at Llandovery RFC's home
ground in Church Bank. The 'Drovers' actually lost to local rivals
Quins in the B&I play-offs in September, but are nevertheless
hosting a Carmarthen 'home' tie after it was decided that the
Scarlets' region would provide auxiliary players to bolster the
Quins' B&I squad.
Jersey's Head Coach Harvey Biljon has chosen an interesting mix
of personnel for Saturday's game. The selected pack has just three
players who started the game against Leinster last weekend, which
Jersey lost 20-21: prop Nacho Lancuba, flanker Ryan Hodson and
skipper Alex Rae, who switches from lock to blindside flanker. Prop
Harry Williams and lock Pierce Phillips are welcome returnees after
injury; Phillips will be partnered in the second row by Dave
Markham, who scored two tries against Carmarthen (pictured below).
The most notable selection is a first opportunity at hooker for Joe
Buckle, who has previously played most of his rugby in the back
Among the starting backs, just fly-half Aaron Penberthy and
full-back Ross Jones-Davies retain their shirts. Penberthy's
half-back partner will be Joel Dudley, while the three-quarter unit
is all-new: Tobias Hoskins and David Bishop in midfield; Ed Dawson
and Jack Burroughs on the wings.
Jersey's bench includes prop Myles Landick, set to return to
first team action after a lengthy injury break. Landick and Dudley
are the only survivors from the Jersey squad who travelled to Ponty
Preview to the other B&I games this weekend - see HERE
And don't forget Jersey Athletic home to Cinderford tomorrow in
Shield match KO at St Peter is 12noon.
Jersey squad v Carmarthen
Quins 'A' - British & Irish Cup, Pool 5, Saturday December
13th, Church Bank, Llandovery - k-o 2pm
Alex Rae (capt)
31 Mar 2023
Five games remain to define Championship season