Jersey's Head Coach Harvey Biljon returns to his former stomping
ground this weekend seeking to get one over on his old club.
The Islanders will take on Cornish Pirates at the Mennaye Field,
a ground where Jersey will be seeking their first victory at the
The visitors' squad for the Greene King IPA Championship clash
has been announced, with Biljon's preparations hampered by absences
in key positions, notably at hooker following injuries sustained by
Martin Garcia-Veiga and Gareth Harris in the pre-Christmas match
with Yorkshire Carnegie.
In total there are four changes in personnel to the Jersey
starting XV, plus some associated positional switches. Joe Buckle
comes in at hooker, while skipper Alex Rae (pictured
below) moves forward to second row in place of Pierce
Phillips. Paula Kaho switches to blindside flanker and Michael
Noone takes up the number 8 role.
Among the starting backs, Drew Locke moves from midfield to take
Mark McCrea's place on the left wing, with David Bishop coming in
at outside centre.
The Jersey bench includes Nick Selway, who provides cover at
both hooker and prop, plus fly-half Aaron Penberthy. Penberthy is
one of five players in the squad who once played for the Pirates,
the other being starting fly-half Jonny Bentley, full-back Grant
Pointer, Buckle and Locke.
The two sides have met six times in the past two seasons.
Jersey's first-ever Championship match was at home to the Pirates
in September 2012, when the Cornish visitors won 6-20, and in the final
match of the season Pirates won 28-24 on home soil.
[click on scorelines for match reports]
The Pirates completed a B&I Cup double over Jersey last
season, while the Islanders gained their only victory so far
against the men from Penzance, winning 27-25 in the league match
at St Peter thanks to a last-minute penalty by Niall O'Connor. The
most recent encounter was a 19-15 win for the home
side in muddy conditions at the Mennaye Field in March.
Both sides are among a closely-packed cluster of clubs in the
Championship table; Pirates currently lie sixth, with 19 points.
Jersey are eighth with one fewer point, while 11th-placed Doncaster
have 14 points. Plymouth Albion, beaten 19-27 at home by the
Pirates last weekend, remain adrift at the foot of the table with
four points after a 55-18 defeat at the hands of leaders Bristol on
New Year's Day.
The win at Brickfields two days after Christmas was the Pirates'
fourth league victory of the season. Moseley were defeated 29-19 at
the Mennaye in late September, and the following weekend the
Pirates won 22-24 at Doncaster. There was a stunning result on home
soil in November when the Cornish ran in nine tries while thrashing
The Pirates have traditionally shown strongly in the British
& Irish Cup, invariably reaching the knock-out stages and
lifting the trophy in 2009/10. But this season's campaign was
disappointing, with only two wins - against Welsh side Cross Keys -
from their six pool matches
Jersey squad v Cornish Pirates 'A' - Greene King IPA
Championship, Saturday January 3rd, Mennaye Field - k-o
Alex Rae (capt)
The Greene King IPA Championship this
Two matches from the 10th round of this season's league campaign
have already taken place: Worcester went top of the table with
their ninth consecutive win, away at Yorkshire Carnegie last
Saturday, but on New Year's Day they were replaced by Bristol, who
claimed their 10th win on the bounce in front of 10,700 fans
against Plymouth at Ashton Gate.
There's a Yorkshire derby at Castle Park on Sunday, live on Sky,
with hosts Doncaster looking to return to winning ways against
local rivals Rotherham having claimed just one point in their last
five league matches. Also on Sunday, Nottingham stage their last
match at Meadow Lane before the move to the new ground at their
Lady Bay, with third-placed London Scottish the visitors. On
Saturday Bedford travel to Moseley. See full preview from earlier
in the week HERE
Boden commits to future with Jersey
If you missed the earlier news about our Assistant Coach, see HERE
Happy New Year, and enjoy your weekend's rugby!
Why not get yourself a Hot Pot (Curry or Chilli served with rice) in the supporters marquee £8 per pot.