Jersey Head Coach Harvey Biljon has confirmed his long-awaited selection of personnel for the club's opening match of the 2015/16 Greene King IPA Championship campaign.
Jersey travel to Leeds to take on Yorkshire Carnegie, a team they have yet to defeat on their home ground at Headingley in three Championship attempts.
The starting XV includes six players making their competitive debuts. Up front Ben Featherstone will start at tight-head, alongside fellow prop Sean McCarthy, who returned to the Island this summer. An impressive pre-season earns Nick Selway the starting shirt at hooker, but prop Sam Lockwood's foot injury has ruled him out of contention against his former club.
Another Carnegie old boy, Pierce Phillips, teams up with Nick Campbell in the engine room, while new signing James Freeman slots into the back row alongside skipper Alex Rae and Nick Haining.
Jersey's starting half-backs will be new signings Jack Moates and Brendan Cope, the latter preferred at fly-half to last season's leading points scorer Aaron Penberthy. Lewis Robling and Fautua Otto are paired at centre, while the back three includes two more new signings, with Rich Lane and Tom Howe selected alongside Mark McCrea.
Jersey's bench includes back row player Gary Graham, fit again after a pre-season rib injury, and new signing Ross Adair.
The Islanders ranked seventh - one place behind Carnegie - in the final Greene King IPA Championship table: the club's first mid-table finish in any season since the 2001/02 campaign in London Three South-West (level seven).
Since reaching the Championship in 2012, Jersey have taken on Carnegie eight times, with just two wins: the 27-33 success in a British & Irish Cup tie played at York RUFC in October 2012, and a 20-17 league win at St Peter two months later. Last season the Yorkshire side won both league encounters by four-point margins: 13-17 at St Peter and 16-12 on home turf.
Jersey squad v Yorkshire Carnegie - Greene King IPA Championship, Sunday September 6th, Headingley, k-o 3pm
Alex Rae (capt)
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