Back at the ranch after a three-week absence, Jersey Reds will be looking for a positive display in front of their home support this weekend.
Hartpury are the visitors for Saturday’s Championship encounter at Stade Santander International, and the home side anticipate a tough challenge. The Gloucestershire side may currently lie 12th in the league table, but they are doing their utmost to avoid relegation, strengthening their playing resources in recent weeks and winning two of their last three games.
After the time off that followed their most recent outing, the 7-8 win at the Mennaye Field over Cornish Pirates, there are no major fresh injury concerns for the Reds, and Director of Rugby Harvey Biljon makes just one change to his starting XV, with Fijian international tight-head Leeroy Atalifo coming in to the front row and Sam Rodman switching to the bench.
The Reds’ back-line is unchanged from the Cornish trip, and includes fly-half Brett Herron, who this week became the latest Jersey player to agree a move to the top flight in England, with confirmation that he will join Harlequins this summer.
There’s one new face for the Reds among the replacements, with a first opportunity for lock forward Liam Hallam-Eames. Originally signed for next season, the New Zealander (pictured below) brought forward his arrival date and, after impressing in training, has been given the chance of some game-time.
The Hartpury game will also be notable as the 50th competitive appearances for two stalwarts of the Reds’ squad over the past two seasons, Roy Godfrey and Jerry Sexton.
This weekend’s game will be the fourth between the sides. In October the visiting Jersey side wore blue at the Gillman’s Ground, but showed red-hot form to score seven tries and defeat Hartpury 14-52. Last season’s meeting’s were far closer affairs: in September 2018 the Gloucestershire side battled back from an early deficit and it finished 19-20 in Jersey’s favour; and three months later the Reds won 18-14 at Stade Santander International in a pre-Christmas ‘Friday Night Lights’ encounter.
Jersey Reds Athletic have an away trip this weekend, taking on Esher in a Zoo Shield match that kicks off at 12.30pm on Saturday.
For online programme – click HERE
For downloadable/printable team-sheet – click HERE
Jersey Reds 1st XV squad v Hartpury (H) – Greene King IPA Championship Round 18/22, Saturday March 23rd, Stade Santander International, k-o 3pm
Leroy Van Dam
Jerry Sexton (capt)
Jack Macfarlane, Harry Morley, Sam Rodman, Liam Hallam-Eames, Conor Joyce; Liam Howley, Aaron Penberthy