A brace of losing finalists in previous British & Irish Cups will lock horns at Stade Santander International this Friday; each looking to take another step towards going all the way in this season's B&I.
As well as keeping the glint of possible silverware in their eyes, the victors in the Good Friday quarter-final clash between Jersey Reds - beaten finalists against Munster 'A' last April - and Doncaster Knights (defeated by Worcester Warriors in 2015) have an added incentive: the winners been assigned a home tie in the last four against the winner of the 'A' team match-up in Ireland between Leinster and Munster.
The Reds' squad is set to be led out by hooker Nick Selway; the club's top try-scorer with 15 so far this season will mark five years on the Island this summer and makes his 100th competitive appearance in Friday's knock-out encounter.
Selway (above) is one of five changes to the starting XV from the Reds' line-up that began the 38-16 Championship win over Rotherham Titans last Saturday. Props Jake Armstrong and Jake Woolmore join him in the front row, which swaps en bloc with the previous trio, as Roy Godfrey, Jared Saunders and Leeroy Atalifo move to the bench.
The other forward back in the starting XV is number 8 Matt Rogerson, who will make his first appearance since the round 5 pool match against the Dragons in mid-January. Rogerson's return means a switch to blindside flanker for Max Argyle, while Rory Bartle moves forward and takes Dave Mckern's spot in the second row.
Six of the Reds' starting backs are unchanged from the Titans' game, but wing Tom Pincus returns in place of James Newey after recovering from a knock.
It's rarely been possible to put more than a cigarette paper between the Reds and the Knights. Across 11 games in the Championship and B&I Cup since 2012, there has never been more than a seven-point margin between the sides, with two matches drawn and an overall points tally of 242 points each. But it's the Knights who have the edge, with five wins to their hosts' four.
Both sides finished the 2016/17 Championship game with 58 points, but the Knights sealed a play-off spot thanks to having won an additional game. This season the Reds are just four points ahead of their rivals with three games remaining, including a third meeting of 2017/18 scheduled for the last Saturday of April at Castle Park.
Jersey Reds Athletic will also be in action this weekend - they travel to Cinderford for a Zoo Shield encounter that kicks off at 4pm on Saturday.
After Easter the Reds will be preparing to face opponents from Yorkshire for the third consecutive game, travelling to Leeds to face Yorkshire Carnegie in the Championship, and the following weekend, Saturday April 14th, will stage their final home league game against Nottingham.
Jersey Reds squad v Doncaster Knights (H) - British & Irish Cup quarter-final, Friday March 30th, Stade Santander International, k-o 3pm
Scott Van Breda (co-capt)
Jake Woolmore (co-capt)
Jared Saunders, Roy Godfrey, Leeroy Atalifo, Uili Kolo'ofa'i, Jake Upfield; Joel Dudley, George Eastwell.
17 Nov 2022
Old rivals both seek to stretch start-of-season winning run to 10 games