Jersey Reds will seek to reach the final of the Championship Cup this Friday, albeit with a number of enforced changes to their match-day squad.
The Reds host Coventry at Stade Santander International, with both sides hoping to extend their season for another eight days by progressing to a cup final against Ealing Trailfinders or Cornish Pirates.
The Island side overcame Hartpury 30-14 in the second leg of their quarter-final last Friday following a first-leg draw in Gloucestershire, but have seen four members of their starting XV ruled out of contention.
Scrum-half James Elliott, number 8 Tim Grey and hooker Eoghan Clarke were all forced from the field with injuries during Friday’s game, while lock Sean O’Connor was red-carded for a dangerous clear-out and has subsequently been handed a four-match ban.
Guy Thompson, who will retire from professional rugby at the conclusion of the cup campaign, is handed an opportunity in the back row in place of Grey, while TJ Harris steps up from the bench to act as starting hooker, with Harry Doolan joining the replacements. Tom Everard will partner Macauley Cook in the second row.
The only change in the back-line sees James Mitchell come in for Elliott after regular rotation between the duo across the season so far. Scrum-half cover will be provided by Harry Simmons, an experienced player in this position albeit whose game-time so far this season has largely been in the back three. Jordan Holgate has been passed fit after being injured in the league match at Coventry in March and will take his place among the replacements.
Although the Reds won both games against Cov during the 2021/22 league season, they will be wary of a side which has won on two of their four Championship visits to the Stade, including a substantial 10-34 victory on the corresponding weekend 12 months ago.
Both sides have the carrot of a potential home draw in the final on Saturday May 21st, although this is dependent on the result of Saturday’s second semi-final. As league winners, Ealing would have the right to host the final should they defeat Cornish Pirates; however a win for the Pirates at Vallis Way would mean they would travel to Jersey or Coventry the following weekend.
Friday’s semi-final, which kicks off at 7pm, is part of a massive weekend of rugby in Jersey, with a trio of Siam Cup games against Channel Island rivals Guernsey on Saturday: the Nash Cup for veterans will kick off at 10.30am, followed by the Ladies Siam at 12.30pm and the Men’s Siam at 3pm. Tickets for both Friday and Saturday must be purchased online in advance (via THIS LINK).
Jersey Reds 1st XV squad v Coventry (H) – Championship Cup Semi-Final, Stade Santander International, Friday May 13th 2022, k-o 7pm
Brendan Owen; Scott Van Breda, Jack Roberts, Dan Barnes, Will Brown; Brendan Cope, James Mitchell.
James Flynn, TJ Harris, Steve Longwell, Tom Everard, Macauley Cook, Max Argyle, Lewis Wynne (capt), Guy Thompson.
Harry Doolan, Roy Godfrey, Adam Nicol, Alex Humfrey, Wes White, Harry Simmons, Sam Leeming, Jordan Holgate.
Why not come a chillout in the supporters marquee before the game, A fully stocked bar and food is available, seated and standing tables, on a first come first served basis and a great place to meet the Reds supporters.