Jersey Reds will go back to the future on the last day of British Summer Time, entertaining a club who they first encountered in London 3 South-West 16 years ago.
After tracking each other’s progress up the English leagues in recent years, the two clubs were reunited in the Greene King IPA Championship two seasons ago, and will renew their rivalry at Stade Santander International.
After starting the league season with three narrow defeats, the Reds have found their form and reeled off four wins in succession to move up to sixth in the Championship table. Most recently, Harvey Biljon’s side scored seven tries in the 14-52 win at Hartpury last Saturday.
Richmond have won three of their eight games thus far and currently lie in ninth spot in the table – the same ranking as they achieved at the end of last season.
Biljon has rung the changes to his squad, with five new faces in the starting XV. This includes one change in each row of the scrum: a start for Nick Selway at hooker, the return of Dave McKern in the second row, and Rory Bartle coming in at flanker.
In the backs, Brett Herron will start at fly-half after scoring two late tries as a replacement against Hartpury, and Jason Worrall is recalled to the wing; Worrall’s selection complements a positional switch for Koch Marx, who moves to outside centre in place of James Newey, who is absent due to a family funeral.
Four of last week’s starters will be looking to make an impact from the bench this weekend: hooker Charlie Maddison, lock Charlie Beckett, flanker Jake Upfield and fly-half Aaron Penberthy.
Richmond and the Reds have met in four previous league campaigns. In 2002/03, Richmond were champions of London 3 South-West (level 7), defeating the Reds 3-32 at St Peter and 30-13 at the RAG as part of a run of 83 successive league wins. In 2010/11 it was Jersey who gained promotion from National Two South – honours between the two sides finished even, with Jersey winning 29-9 at St Peter having lost 25-14 at the RAG.
Fixtures between the two sides book-ended the 2016/17 season. In September 2016, Jersey scored seven tries at the RAG on the opening day of the season and won 16-41; the Easter return fixture was a closer-run affair, with Ross Adair’s 77th-minute interception sealing a 28-17 victory for the home team. The Island side were well-beaten in September 2017, the Londoners winning 23-14 on home turf; each side registered a brace of converted tries, but Rob Kirby’s three penalties made the difference. Kirby also landed three penalties in the most recent encounter at Stade Santander in January this year, but the Reds emerged narrowly victorious by 10-9 thanks to an early try by Nick Selway and a 74th-minute try by scrum-half Kieran Hardy after the scrum-half charged down an attempted clearance and was first to the loose ball.
The two clubs also meet at 2nd team level this weekend, with Richmond Vikings hosting Jersey Reds Athletic in a Zoo Shield fixture at the Athletic Ground in south-west London.
Jersey Reds 1st XV squad v Richmond FC (H) – Greene King IPA Championship Round 9/22*, Saturday October 27th, Stade Santander International, k-o 3pm
Leroy Van Dam
Jerry Sexton (capt)
Charlie Maddison, Cameron Holenstein, Sam Rodman, Charlie Beckett, Jake Upfield; Will Homer, Aaron Penberthy.
* Round 3: Reds v London Irish – rescheduled from Sept 15th to Nov 3rd