Jersey Reds' Championship Cup campaign reaches a crucial stage this weekend when the Island side play host to old rivals Ealing Trailfinders.
The Reds are looking for the win that will guarantee they top pool 2 and secure a home quarter-final, but achieving this aim could be one of the toughest challenges of the season. Second in the Greene King IPA Championship, Ealing will be striving to avenge a home cup defeat to the Reds four weeks ago and overtake their hosts in the rankings.
The home side will also be looking to extend a recent winning run that stretches back to late September and has now reached 10 games, equalling their best run since reaching the Championship in 2012.
After completing back-to-back cup wins over Richmond with a 7-38 victory at the Athletic Ground last Saturday, the Jersey starting line-up for round five shows six changes.
The majority of the changes are among the backs. Will Homer and Aaron Penberthy are paired at half-back, with Calum Waters and Brett Herron switching to the bench. Apakuki Ma'afu starts at centre ahead of James Newey, and Jason Worrall comes in on the wing in place of Jack Stapley.
After Jerry Sexton's injury last weekend, Dave McKern returns to the second row, and the other returning player is Janco Venter at number 8, with Kyle Hatherell reverting to the bench.
Ealing's Championship Cup campaign began with a 34-41 defeat to the Reds at Vallis Way, but since then Trailfinders have won three consecutive matches against London Scottish (twice) and Richmond.
Although the Reds won the most recent encounter, as well as three of the four matches between the sides during the national league era (2010-12), Ealing have had the upper hand in encounters at level 2 overall, winning seven of the nine matches between the sides.
Jersey Reds Athletic are in action on Saturday, with an away match at Ampthill, kicking off at 1pm. But there'll be no match for Jersey Reds Women on Sunday after Old Oakmeadians withdrew from their scheduled home match against the Reds.
Teamsheet link - HERE
Online programme - see HERE
Jersey Reds 1st XV squad v Ealing Trailfinders (H) - Championship Cup Pool 2, Round 5/6, Saturday December 8th, Stade Santander International, k-o 2pm
Leroy Van Dam
Roy Godfrey (capt)
Nick Selway, Harry Morley, Sam Rodman, Jake Upfield, Kyle Hatherell; Calum Waters, Brett Herron.
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