A shortened but action-packed 2020/21 season will conclude for Jersey Reds and Cornish Pirates when the old rivals face off at Stade Santander International this Saturday.
The 21st meeting between the sides will be the final act of a campaign that has been seriously affected by the Covid-19 pandemic but has been navigated thanks to the resolve of clubs to make it happen, with the reward of seeing spectators back in most grounds in time for the last hurrah.
While the Pirates, with a bye from last weekend’s action, have been deprived by the fixture computer of a home game after English restrictions eased on May 17th, the Reds will be able to welcome spectators to the Stade for the third time since regulations on the Island changed in April.
The Jersey match-day squad remains settled, as in recent weeks – this is down partly to a sizeable injury list, but also to a series of strong performances in recent weeks. With the exception of a disappointing home defeat by Coventry, the Reds have won impressively on home turf against Nottingham and on the road at Ampthill and Hartpury. The most recent outing saw eight tries last weekend in a 19-50 win at Hartpury.
Prop Dan Richardson recovers from an injury sustained against Coventry and comes in for Ollie Dawe in the only change to the starting XV, with Dawe’s addition to the bench in place of Will Vaughan the sole tweak among the replacements.
Three players have been ever-present in the starting line-up for all ten Greene King IPA Championship outings this season: skipper Lewis Wynne in the back row, wing Brendan Owen and fly-half Brendan Cope, who is currently the top points scorer in the league with 77.
There will be farewells to some of those who are ending their time with the Reds at the end of the current season, with Dawe, Tom Williams and Josh Bainbridge set to play their final games, alongside loan signings Max Green, James Scott and Matti Williams.
Since their first meeting in September 2012 – the Island side’s first-ever game at Championship level – the sides have met 19 times in competitive games, and also contested a pre-season friendly at the Mennaye Field in February. The Pirates won the latter game 26-13, leaving the overall record between the sides standing at ten wins apiece.
The Reds are hoping for a bumper crowd to cheer on the team in their final outing – tickets for the game are available online and must be purchased in advance at www.jerseyreds.je/tickets. The match will also be available to watch through a live stream via the Championship website at a cost of £10.
Jersey Reds 1st XV squad v Cornish Pirates (H) – Greene King IPA Championship, Round 11/11, Stade Santander International, Saturday May 29th 2021, k-o 3pm
Scott Van Breda; Tom Williams, Jack Roberts, Dan Barnes, Brendan Owen; Brendan Cope, Max Green; Dan Richardson, Eoghan Clarke, Ciaran Parker, Zak Farrance, Sean O’Connor, Macauley Cook, Lewis Wynne (capt), Max Argyle.
Jack Macfarlane, Ollie Dawe, Jack Higgins, James Scott, Matti Williams, James Elliott, Josh Bainbridge, Bader Pretorius.