The Exiles, the Exeter loan-signing and the
Bad judgement has been rearing its head in rugby everywhere you
look in recent weeks.
On the field, the tactical substitutions of Philippe Saint-Andre
have raised eyebrows, as has Sergio Parisse taking up refereeing in
the middle of a French Top 14 match, and the bizarre cross-field
'kick-pass' essayed by Ronan O'Gara at Murrayfield. What were they
Off-the-field, and a prime candidate has to be the risible attempt
by Saracens to liven up the closing stages of their match against
Exeter by acting out the tired cliche about the result not being
certain until an ample-sized female had chanted. The match at the
Allianz Big Top was into its last two minutes when a bloke in drag
appeared with a mic during play and started singing Nessun
Take your pick which was more crass - Saracens' sorry
state-of-a-fez, or the Speaker of the House of Commons John Bercow,
who introduced former England winger Ben Cohen at a
networking event as "openly gay". "Don't tell my wife," was the
response from Cohen, who while he has become a gay icon, is married
with twin daughters.
Jersey and London Scottish will approach their own Judgement Day
hoping to steer clear of own goals. Scots seem to have been making
to right decisions lately, with an impressive five wins in their
last seven league games, plus a bonus point in going down 12-9 at
Kingston Park. This has seen the Exiles surge up the league table -
or should that be Serge up, given their new Defence Coach?
Jersey have emulated the Scots in charging up through the leagues
in recent years, Scottish having been sent back to the depths of
level nine after a first foray into professionalism had disastrous
results. Now the Island side will aim to survive their first season
at Championship level, as the Exiles did last season, before
finding life a little easier second time round.
DoR Ben Harvey has master-minded Jersey's rise up the pyramid, and
now will be looking to some new signings, secured in the closing
days before the transfer window closes today (March 1st), to
inspire a change of fortunes, particularly on the road where the
Islanders have lost seven straight league games.
Three new faces are set to start for Jersey at the Athletic Ground
in Richmond, for a match that starts at 2pm to allow the away side
to head home afterwards. The Saturday night returns were formerly a
staple of JRFC's travels, and those in the visiting camp will be
hoping that the lone London fixture of the season may inspire an
away win, as was often the case in previous campaigns.
News from the Jersey Camp
Ben Harvey includes three new signings in his starting XV to take
on London Scottish at the Athletic Ground in Richmond tomorrow (KO
Significant changes in the back-line include Mark McCrea, signed
this week from Connacht, in the centres alongside Max Stelling,
while the experienced Mark Foster, a loan signing from Exeter
(pictured above courtesy Exeter Chiefs/ Pinnacle), is
selected on the wing. Barry Davies returns at full-back following
suspension, with Mike Le Bourgeois switching to fly-half.
The Jersey pack has a more familiar look, with the exception of
another new face, Charlie-Walker Blair - the former Exeter man
replaces Kingsley Lang who moves to the bench. Charlie Clare gets
the nod at hooker, with Dave Felton hoping to make some second-half
impact as a substitute.
Jersey's replacements also include two men who have captained the
side - Tongan back-five forward Talite Vaioleti, and scrum-half
Jersey squad, sponsored by Locate Jersey and
1 Sean McCarthy
2 Charlie Clare
3 Jon Brennan
4 Nathan Hannay
5 Dave Markham
6 Charlie Walker-Blair
7 Fred Silcock
8 Guy Thompson
9 Nicky Griffiths (capt)
10 Michael Le Bourgeois
11 Ed Dawson
12 Mark McCrea
13 Max Stelling
14 Mark Foster
15 Barry Davies
16 Richard Barrington
17 Dave Felton
18 James Gethings
19 Talite Vaioleti
20 Kingsley Lang
21 Dave McCormack
22 Donovan Sanders
Jersey hosted the Exiles on the final weekend of October, and
built up a 13-3 lead at half-time thanks to a Guy Thompson try
(captured below by Sue Trower) and eight points from the boot of
Booj. Things got even better for the home side when James Copsey
scored one of the best tries of the season, his finishing skill
matching fine approach play from team-mates.
A 17-point margin was surely too much for the visitors? Well, in
the end it was, but not before Scottish had stormed back with tries
in the 52nd (a PT) and 75th minute. The second score, by Jim
Thompson, gave just enough time for a winning, or tying score, but
Jersey held on.
More details about the game are available HERE.
London Scottish in 2012/13
Director of Rugby Simon Amor has had a busy summer with plenty of
new signings coming in both on and off the pitch as he prepared the
squad to improve on last season's nail-biting finish (the Exiles
grabbed a try bonus point against Esher with about a quarter of an
hour of the season to go, sealing their opponents' fate in the
Scottish had the start they wanted with a 26-20 opening weekend
success over Rotherham at the RAG, but the luck of the draw saw
them face Newcastle Falcons the following weekend. The match was
lost by 32-49, although the margin was the smallest for the Falcons
so far (equal with their 37-20 opening day win at Brizzle).??The
challenge didn't get any lesser for the Scots as they went to
Bedford, and lost 55-20, but they recovered to notch wins at home
to Doncaster (37-26) and the Pirates (25-24), rudely interrupted by
a 54-9 drubbing at Nottingham.
Defeat in Jersey was part of a hat-trick of defeats, a black spell
that got darker when news emerged of a player eligibility issue
that eventually cost the Exiles a three-point deduction.
But at the end of November, a new coaching structure had been
unveiled, with former Leicester and London Irish hooker James
Buckland arriving as Forwards Coach, a switch to a full-time
coaching schedule, and the engagement of Serge Betsen in a
part-time role as Defence Coach.
The 63-times capped French flanker, dubbed 'la Faucheuse' (grim
reaper) for his committed tackling, has shored up the defence
impressively - an average points concession of 34 per league match
in the opening nine games was almost halved for the next seven
The Exiles boosted morale with a 23-18 home success over Moseley,
and after a defeat at Bristol came close to upsetting Newcastle two
days before Christmas. The New Year has brought four impressive
wins, including the teams ranled second and third, Bedford and
Nottingham, plus an away win at the Mennaye over the Pirates, never
an achievement to be sniffed at.
This impressive form has banished any relegation fears, with the
Scots now seventh and perhaps even fancying a late dart at the
play-offs, although Bristol's eight-point lead and game in hand
surely leaves them with a bit too much to do.
Simon Amor (above) is the youngest Head Coach/ DoR in the
Championship at 33-years-old. He has been at the club for four
years and played around 80 games in four seasons. He became Head
Coach in May 2010 and DoR 18 months later, and has not yet laced up
his boots this season in a playing capacity.
Amor was a sevens specialist until his arrival at the RAG,
including helping his country to four successive Hong Kong Sevens
titles in the mid-noughties as England belatedly proved they could
take the reduced form of the game seriously and achieve success in
it. During this period he was also on the books of Gloucester and
Wasps but his 15-a-side game time was limited by sevens
The Exiles' team will be added to this preview later on Friday.
Here it is!
London Scottish have made four changes to their starting XV from
the side that defeated Cornish Pirates at the Mennaye Field two
In the back division, Andy Reay is restored at inside centre
with PJ Gidlow dropping to the replacements bench. Jamie Stevenson
misses out through injury so Richard Bolt starts at scrum half with
Ross Samson coming on to the bench.
There is a start for Mark Irish at loosehead prop as he lines up
alongside Adam Kwasnicki and Eric Fry in the front row. Alex
Karonias begins in the second row alongside Tyler Hotson and the
regular back row trio of Ben Russell, Chevvy Pennycook and skipper
Mark Bright will continue.
Lewis Thiede comes onto the replacements bench to provide front
row cover and there is a spot for the dual-registered Sam Twomey.
There is also a return to first team action for winger David
Howells, who forms part of a four forwards and three backs
15 Jim Thompson; 14 James Love, 13 Oli Grove, 12 Andy Reay, 11
Miles Mantella; 10 Phil Godman, 9 Richard Bolt; 1 Mark Irish, 2
Adam Kwasnicki, 3 Eric Fry; 4 Alex Karonias, 5 Tyler Hotson; 6 Ben
Russell, 7 Chevvy Pennycook, 8 Mark Bright (c).
16 Nic Mayhew, 17 Harry Allen, 18 Lewis Thiede, 19 Sam Twomey, 20
Ross Samson, 21 PJ Gidlow, 22 David Howells
History of London Scottish FC?
Like many fine institutions, London Scottish FC was formed in a
pub, namely Mackay's Tavern in the City of London on April 10th
The club adopted the colours they still wear to this day, albeit
with fewer sponsors' logos, and in the first season were captained
by their Chairman, Begbie Gibson. The first season featured 15
matches, and three of the opposing clubs are still in existence -
Wasps, Twickenham and Guy's Hospital.
Bill MacLagan captained the club in the 1880s for five seasons and
was the first player to win a cap for Scotland. The club continued
to thrive adding respected opponents like Oxford and Cambridge
Universities and Harlequins to the fixture list and after a short
period at Lee and then Brondesbury, moved to Old Deer Park in
Richmond as tenants of Richmond Cricket Club and then in 1894 to
their present ground the Richmond Athletic Ground, which they share
with Richmond Football Club.
The club prospered, establishing an excellent playing reputation
and attracting many fine players who represented their country,
some of whom went onto play for the British Lions. In fact since
the club was formed, this heritage has produced in the region of
220 Scottish Internationals and the same number of Lions captains
as Leicester Tigers with four (MacLagan, David Bedell-Sivright in
1903/4, Mike Campbell-Lamerton in 1966 and Gavin Hastings in
Other Scottish internationals worthy of mention include a
proliferation of back-row men - Mike Biggar, Rob Wainwright, Derek
White and Ian Smith - as well as Paul Burnell, Alastair McHarg,
Allan Lawson and Kenny Logan. Logan scored the last try of his
competitive career for Scottish in December 2005 in a fiery
encounter against Richmond, won 27-25 by the landlords.
The club began the league era in 1987 at level two, and by 1998
were a fully-professional unit playing in the Premiership. However
this was also the season that the professional club went into
administration, necessitating a year out while the original club
was reformed and placed into Herts/ Middlesex Division One (level
nine) in 2000.
Four successive promotions kick-started the revival, and in the
past six seasons Scottish have been promoted on three further
occasions to return to their original status when the leagues began
25 years ago. To call it a roller-coaster might do inadequate
justice to the ride.
New man at the helm
As the Catholic Church lost a Chief Executive on Thursday (I
wonder if the Pope brought cakes on his last day?), so London
Scottish gains one today (Friday) with Kenny Baillie, former CEO of
Glasgow Warriors, officially starting in his position.
Baillie's appointment was announced back in January, at which
point the Jersey game was looming as a possible relegation crunch
match. He will no doubt be relieved that's no longer the case, and
hoping his team's good form will continue.
Following the game
Don't forget that you can keep up-to-speed with news from Jersey v
London Scottish through the following channels:
• Preview on BBC Radio Jersey from 5.30 to 6pm on Friday, and
live commentary on Saturday afternoon (available online and on your
• Preview in Friday's JEP, more rugby in Saturday's Inside Centre
pull-out, including plenty of Welsh-related content, and full match
coverage on Monday
• Scoreflashes on @jerseyrfc Twitter and the 'Rolling Maul' rugby
• Match report on Channel 103 soon after the final whistle on
Saturday, plus updates during the match
• Preview and report on Channel TV online and on Friday and Monday
evening at approx 6.15pm; and on BBC Channel Islands on Monday
evening at 6.30pm
The Championship this weekend
No prizes for guessing which of the other games will be the
subject of greatest interest for Jersey followers...
Saturday: Rotherham v Newcastle, Bedford v Bristol,
Moseley v Doncaster
Sunday: Leeds v Cornish Pirates, Nottingham v
There's a decent curtain-raiser in prospect for the Championship
game, with the Athletic Ground also hosting Richmond Vikings v
Jersey Athletic, the JRFC 2nd XV. The visiting squad has been
supplemented by a number of senior squad men who have been released
by Ben Harvey to allow them some game-time, including (tbc) Rob
Anderson, Myles Landick, Eoghan Nihill, Glenn Bryce and James
Copsey. KO is at 12noon.
Other games involving Jersey sides this weekend are Banks v
Wanderers (Grainville, Saturday at 2pm), Beeches v LQ (Sunday, 2pm
at LQ) and Jersey Colts away game at Winchester on Sunday.
To end on a frivolous note, JRFC has been among a range of
organisations to have made a version of the Harlem Shake, a new
dance (I use the word loosely) craze that has gone viral in recent
weeks. The Rugby Paper is doing a poll of 10 of the best, and you
can vote for Jersey's HERE (poll closes Sunday
Enjoy your weekend's rugby