Jersey Reds will have a score to settle when they take on old rivals under the ‘Friday Knight Lights’ at Stade Santander International.
Visitors Doncaster Knights have beaten the Reds on the last four occasions the sides have met, and in January they claimed a notable scalp by ending a proud six-match winning run at the Stade with an emphatic 19-35 victory.
As well as having revenge on their minds, the Reds will be keen to maintain a great start to 2022/23, which has brought five wins in succession, most recently a 19-34 win at Caldy prior to a well-earned weekend off.
Director of Rugby Harvey Biljon shuffles his cards, with eight changes in personnel among his starting XV, plus two positional switches.
Props Sam Grahamslaw and Steve Longwell are back in the front row, joining TJ Harris, while Macauley Cook moves forward to resume his partnership with Sean O’Connor. Skipper Lewis Wynne and Alun Lawrence return to the back row, with James Dun moving from number 8 to number 6.
In the backs, Russell Bennett and Scott Van Breda are back at fly-half and full-back respectively, while Alex McHenry is recalled at centre to partner Jordan Holgate. Wing is one of several difficult areas at selection time, with the four candidates having racked up 14 tries in eight matches; Ben Woollett and Will Brown get the nod to start, while Ryan Hutler is among the replacements.
Potential impact from the bench is offered by five forwards, while James Elliott and Dan Barnes will sit alongside Hutler.
Overall there is nothing to separate the sides across 22 league and cup encounters since their first meeting at Castle Park in November 2012, with 10 wins apiece and two draws across that period.
Last season the two sides were among a cluster of four sides at the top of the table in late February, but the Reds fell away slightly and it was the Knights who pushed Ealing Trailfinders all the way, eventually finishing runners-up, just three points behind the Londoners.
Friday’s match will be available to a worldwide audience via a live stream set up by Reds’ media partners 3Ci Sport, the company behind the Jersey Reds TV channel. To sign up for the stream, go to THIS LINK.
The game will mark the start of a busy weekend’s rugby on the Island, which continues on Saturday with both Jersey RFC amateur sides in action on home turf. JRFC Women will play Oakmeadians at 11am, while at 2pm their male counterparts face Bournemouth 2nd XV.
Stade Santander International is also set to host an international squad once again, with the England Men’s squad set for a training camp on the Island next week ahead of their November test matches. This will include an open training session on Friday morning, with tickets now available via the Reds’ website. Tickets for both the training camp and the Knights' match are available via the ticketing section of the Reds' website.
Jersey Reds squad v Doncaster Knights (A) – 2022/23 RFU Championship game 6/22, Stade Santander International, Friday October 21st, k-o 7.15pm
Starting backs (15-9)
Scott Van Breda; Ben Woollett, Alex McHenry, Jordan Holgate, Will Brown; Russell Bennett, James Mitchell.
Starting forwards (1-8)
Sam Grahamslaw, Antonio ‘TJ’ Harris, Steve Longwell, Sean O’Connor, Macauley Cook, James Dun, Lewis Wynne (capt), Alun Lawrence.
Greg McGrath, Eoghan Clarke, Adam Nicol, Hamish Bain, Max Argyle; James Elliott, Dan Barnes, Ryan Hutler.
02 Dec 2022
Rivalry between two clubs enters its third decade