Pierce Phillips will be the new Captain of Jersey Reds this season. As the build-up to the new season approaches, the Reds have confirmed that the lock forward will succeed Alex Rae as skipper of the Island side, with James Freeman and Jack Cuthbert taking on joint roles as Vice-Captains.
Phillips is set to begin his third season with the Reds since signing from Darlington Mowden Park in spring 2014, having formerly spent a season with Leeds Carnegie. The 23-year-old has made more than 40 appearances for the Islanders, captaining the side in several matches in last season's successful British & Irish Cup campaign.
"Pierce really grew into his leadership role throughout last season, not only when he was actually captaining the side," said Head Coach Harvey Biljon. "He has also shown his ability as a leader during pre-season, dating back to the first days that the squad were back in training and before any official roles had been confirmed."
Back row player Freeman joined Jersey last summer, signing from Loughborough Students at the same time as graduating with a degree in Sports Science and Management. The 25-year-old was signed as a professional by Worcester early in his career before moving to Loughborough in 2011, and subsequently captained the Students for two seasons. In 2015/16 Freeman played 18 league games and notched a further eight B&I Cup appearances, and was also named Greene King IPA Player of the Month for March.
28-year-old full-back Cuthbert, who won a Scottish cap in 2011, moved to Jersey this summer after three seasons with Edinburgh Rugby, during which he made around 60 appearances in the Guinness Pro12 for the Scottish regional side. He previously spent seven seasons with Bath, making his debut as a teenager in 2006 and subsequently racking up around 90 Premiership and Heineken Cup appearances.
"The competition for places in the squad is such that the coaching team felt it was important that we identified a strong group of leaders who had earned the respect of their team-mates," added Biljon. "James is a really committed individual who will excel in the role, and Jack has become an influential member of the squad within a short time of arriving in Jersey."
After three years playing for and captaining the Jersey team since signing for the Reds in summer 2013, Alex Rae made the switch from playing to coaching at the end of last season when he was appointed as Jersey's new Forwards Coach, retiring from playing after May's Ipes Siam Cup win over Guernsey Raiders.
In building up to the 2016/17 campaign, the Reds will play a trio of pre-season games in August, when Coventry (August 6th), Ampthill (August 13th) and Aviva Premiership side Worcester Warriors (August 20th) will visit St Peter. The Greene King IPA Championship season starts on the first weekend of September, when the Reds travel to London to take on Richmond; the first home league game of the season, when Bedford Blues will be the visitors, takes place on Saturday September 10th.
Tickets for the pre-season matches, as well as membership and season ticket packages for supporters for the 2016/17 season, plus a full list of confirmed fixtures to date, are available through the Jersey Reds website.
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