Jersey head to Devon this weekend seeking to build on recent
good form. The Islanders are unbeaten in four league matches, but
know they will have a tough match at Brickfields against Plymouth
Albion may be propping up the Greene King IPA Championship, but
their form is also improved as they battle to escape the drop-zone;
a 12-all draw against third-placed London Scottish last weekend
showing their fighting spirit, a quality also in evidence off the
field as the club succeeded in avoiding administration.
James Shanahan's side also won the last match between the sides,
a 14-23 success at St Peter
in the B&I Cup at the end of November. Earlier in the season
Jersey won 19-0 at home in the league
and 16-22 in the Cup at
Brickfields. [as ever, match reports available by clicking on
Plymouth has been a happy hunting ground for the visitors from
the Channel Island, who have a 'three-from-three' record at
Albion's HQ in Devonport, including their first-ever away win in
the Championship - by 15-19 in March 2013 - and
another narrow triumph 12 months later by 23-30.
Albion have had more joy against Jersey away from their home
city: they lost on their first visit to St Peter by 16-14 in November 2012,
but since then won 41-27 in the
curtain-raising '23rd match' at Sandy Park in Exeter last season
and 18-23 on the Island a few
weeks later, as well as their recent B&I victory.
Head Coach Harvey Biljon has shuffled his pack - as well as his
back-line - for the trip. Ignacio Lancuba (pictured above)
is selected at loose-head - strong impact from the bench in
Saturday's 17-3 win over Bedford has earned
the Argentine his first Championship start since Jersey travelled
to Worcester in November.
Another replacement last weekend, Michael Noone, is selected to
start the match ahead of Paula Kaho at number 8.
In the backs, Biljon is without new signing Fautua Otto, who
took a knock to the head against Bedford and is unavailable due to
the concussion protocols covering professional rugby union. The
Jersey squad sees a reversion to a previous incarnation with Mark
McCrea on the wing, Lewis Robling at centre and Jonny Bentley back
Jersey's bench includes a five:two split of forwards and backs,
with two players returning to the squad - lock Dave Markham and
centre David Bishop.
The match will be the last for Jersey prior to a weekend off,
after which the Islanders face a challenging series of matches in
March - home to London Scottish and Worcester and then away to
A video link outlining Jersey's squad can be accessed HERE
Jersey squad v Plymouth Albion 'A' - Greene King IPA
Championship, Saturday February 21st, Brickfields - k-o
Alex Rae (capt)
Albion team news - HERE
Plymouth Albion: a potted history
Back in the day: in the early 20th Century Albion played
at Home Park, where Plymouth Argyle Football Club now play. In 1925
they moved to Beacon Park, their home until the move to the current
ground, Brickfields, in 2003.
Famous sons: two internationals became Player-Coaches of
the club - the Cornishman Graham Dawe and his successor, the Fijian
Nat Saumi. The latter announced he was stepping down following the
home defeat by Jersey in March 2013, while Dawe (pictured
below) has recently returned as Director of Rugby to work with
Head Coach Shanahan.
Jersey connections: Islander Ross Allan, who has been
playing for Jersey Athletic this season, played for Albion from
2007-09. This season, the Devon side signed former Jersey duo Tom
Fidler and Jimmy Williams, the latter in a short-term deal prior to
his going travelling.
League history: Started at level three, then known as
Courage League Three, in 1987/88. Promoted in 1988/89 but relegated
after two seasons and didn't return to the second tier until 2003.
They are the second longest-standing tenants at this level, after
Bedford, and in the last three seasons have finished 11th, ninth
and eighth in the table.
The Greene King IPA Championship this
The first action of the weekend - Friday's only game - sees
Nottingham, currently occupying the fourth and final play-off spot,
host a Cornish Pirates side who performed badly on home soil last
The Pirates' conquerors, Doncaster, are at home to Bristol on
Saturday, while the other team most concerned by the Albion
revival, Moseley, face London Scottish at the RAG. Bedford have a
tough task at home to leaders Worcester as they seek to recover
from defeat in Jersey. And Rotherham are at home to their county
rivals Yorkshire Carnegie - the derby match counts towards the
tri-partite Yorkshire Regiment Trophy, although Carnegie have
already been ruled out of contention for local bragging rights
after three straight defeats.
See HERE for the full
preview to round 16
The name Harry Westlake may not ring a bell, but most rugby fans
will probably recognise this face.
Six-year-old Harry stole the show at Twickenham with a
passionate rendition of God Save the Queen prior to the England v
Italy match, since when he has gone well and truly viral.
Since being broken by his local paper The Plymouth
Herald, the story of the youngster who plays for Devonport
Services Under 7s and whose grandson Ray captained Albion back in
the day, has featured in media for and wide. If England were
playing again this weekend he'd probably be enlisted for more
national service, but a break in the 6 Nations means he's back home
in Plymouth, and has been asked to lead out the team ahead of the
match with Jersey.
Talking of the 6 Nations, there are a couple of diary dates, one
involving the 6N, for Jersey supporters ahead of the next 1st XV
home game against London Scottish on March 7th:
Finally finally, Jersey Athletic have a home game this Saturday
against Barnes, the Zoo Shield match kicking off at 12noon and
being followed by lunch in the Clubhouse.
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.