In completing the first half of the Greene King IPA Championship season this Friday, Jersey Reds will be looking to upset the league standings so far.
The Reds travel to Lady Bay in Nottingham to face a host club who are six places above them in the current rankings. But the middle of the Championship table is congested, with just 10 points separating fourth from 11th, and 10th-placed Jersey have ambitions to close the gap.
After consecutive wins against London Scottish and Rotherham at the start of November, the Reds' mini-revival stalled with a below-par disaplay on home turf last Saturday, when visitors Yorkshire Carnegie battled back from an early deficit to claim victory by 10-20 at Stade Santander International.
The Reds' starting XV to face Nottingham includes six new faces from the line-up who took on Carnegie, three among the forwards and three in the backs.
A new half-back pairing sees Joel Dudley and Oli Bryant line up as numbers 9 and 10, replacing Kieran Hardy, who drops to the bench, and Brendan Cope, who moves to full-back. The reshuffle also sees Auguy Slowik move from full-back to wing in place of Josh Hodson, while Mark Best is back in midfield ahead of Ellis Abrahams.
In the front row, Roy Godfrey takes over the loose-head berth, and captain's armband, from Jake Woolmore, while Jared Saunders gets a start ahead of Nick Selway. In the second row Uili Kolo'ofa'i is selected to partner Jerry Sexton, with James Voss dropping out. Both Woolmore and Selway feature among the replacements, alongside the recalled Dave Mckern, Max Argyle and Jason Worrall.
The Reds have a narrow advantage in their series of matches against the Green & Whites over the past five seasons, with six wins to their opponents' four. Seven of the 10 matches have been won by the away side, including both of last season's encounters: a 21-22 win at St Peter for Nottingham in September 2016, sealed by Tom Heard's late try and Lawrence Rayner's last-kick conversion; and then a Jersey win at Lady Bay in January of this year, when the Reds recovered from an early 11-0 deficit to win 19-24.
Both male Reds teams are away this weekend, with Jersey Athletic travelling to Old Elthamians on Saturday (k-o 1.45pm) in search of their fourth consecutive Zoo Shield win. There will be action on home turf on Sunday, when Jersey Reds Women entertain Havant (k-o 1pm).
Jersey Reds squad v Nottingham (A) - Greene King IPA Championship Round 11/22, Friday December 1st, Lady Bay Sports Ground; k-o 7.45pm
Roy Godfrey (capt)
Nick Selway, Jake Woolmore, Leeroy Atalifo, Dave Mckern, Max Argyle; Kieran Hardy, Jason Worrall
17 Nov 2022
Old rivals both seek to stretch start-of-season winning run to 10 games