Jersey Reds will seek to finish their 2021/22 campaign with a flourish when the end-of-season Championship Cup starts this weekend.
The Reds registered their best season in a decade of competing in the second tier of English rugby, matching their highest-ever finish of fourth and racking up a record points haul in the process.
Now attention switches to 'knockout' (plus selected 'lucky losers') rugby, starting with a two-legged tie against London Scottish.
Director of Rugby Harvey Biljon makes three changes to the starting XV which began the final league match of the season, a 38-66 win at Coventry, all of them among the back-line.
Ryan Olowofela, Scott Van Breda and Jack Roberts come into the threequarters in place of Harry Simmons, Will Brown and Jordan Holgate, but the starting pack is unchanged from the unit that ran out at the Butts Park Arena.
The Jersey bench comprises eight players after an initial proposal for a five-man bench was shelved this week, with a new regulation allowing up to 12 interchanges during the game. The Reds’ replacements include scrum-half Will Lane, who is in line to make his competitive debut, and fly-half Brendan Cope, making a welcome return from long-term injury.
In a decade of rivalry in the second tier, the Reds and London Scottish have played 17 league matches, with the Exiles just ahead by 9-8, although the Reds completed the double in this season’s league fixtures. Cup history favours the Island side, who have won all four cup ties between the clubs during this period.
The match at Stade Santander International will kick off at the later time of 5pm to accommodate the visitors’ travel schedule. The second leg will take place at the Richmond Athletic Ground on Saturday April 23rd (k-o 2pm) with the winners progressing to a quarter-final tie, also over two legs, against Richmond or Hartpury.
Jersey Reds 1st XV squad v London Scottish (H) – Championship Cup 1st Round, 1st Leg, Stade Santander International, Saturday April 9th 2022, k-o 5pm
Brendan Owen; Ryan Olowofela, Jack Roberts, Dan Barnes, Scott Van Breda; Sam Leeming, James Elliott.
James Flynn, Eoghan Clarke, Steve Longwell, Sean O’Connor, Macauley Cook, Max Argyle, Lewis Wynne (capt), Tim Grey.
TJ Harris, Roy Godfrey, Adam Nicol, Tom Everard, Alex Humfrey, Guy Thompson, Will Lane, Brendan Cope.
03 Feb 2023
Home side look to improve poor record over London rivals