After the excitement of the annual Battle of Britain Air Display in Jersey this week, the Island's rugby team are looking to wow spectators in the same fashion in their first home league game of 2016/17.
Anticipation levels mounted on the back of Jersey Reds' impressive start to the league season last Saturday, when newly-promoted Richmond were put to the sword on their home patch in south-west London. Jersey scored seven tries in an eventually-comfortable 16-41 success - their first winning start to a league season since 2010.
Saturday's result sees the Reds flying high on top of the Greene King IPA Championship table, albeit that there are still 21 games to play for all clubs.
Bedford Blues will be looking for revenge, having lost all three games against Jersey last season - two league encounters plus the B&I Cup quarter-final - and currently trailing the Reds 6-3 in matches over the past four seasons. Club captain for 2016/17 is Michael Le Bourgeois, now starting his fourth season with the Blues after leaving the Island of his birth in 2013. Bedford's opening game, played at their home ground of Goldington Road, saw them go down to a disappointing 17-26 defeat to Cornish Pirates.
After the victory at Richmond, Head Coach Harvey Biljon has made just two changes to his starting XV, both in the pack. Pierce Phillips comes in at lock in place of Nick Campbell, although flanker James Freeman will retain the captaincy for this match.
With Gary Graham injured, Freeman moves across the back row from blind-side to open-side flanker and Max Argyle comes into the team. Argyle's place on the bench is taken by James Doyle, who stands by to make his league debut for the Reds.
"James Freeman did such a good job as captain against Worcester and Richmond that he'll retain the role, while Pierce can focus on his own game and on calling our lineouts," explained Biljon. "Nick and Gary are both carrying bumps from the opening game and that was another factor in making changes to the pack."
The Reds are hoping for a big home crowd to kick off the league season on their home ground, which has seen a number of improvements since the most recent league match staged there, against Yorkshire Carnegie in April. Full match-day info covering tickets, seating, eating/drinking options and more is available HERE
Jersey Reds squad v Bedford Blues (H) - Greene King IPA Championship, Saturday September 10th, St Peter, k-o 3pm
James Freeman (capt)
Nick Selway, Sean McCarthy, Mark Tampin, Uili Kolo'ofa'i, James Doyle; Sami Fisilau, Jordan Davies
17 Mar 2023
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