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Reds face Scarlets in final pre-season test

06/09/2019

Jersey Reds will complete a trio of pre-season matches with the visit of top-flight opposition from Wales to Stade Santander International.

The Scarlets will make the journey from Llanelli to the Channel Islands and, even though deprived of almost a full XV of World Cup-bound internationals, will provide a stiff test to the home side.

The Reds are preparing for another season in the Greene King IPA Championship and are looking to back up the impressive display of 10 days ago, when they defeated the Russian national side in Moscow 22-35. The hosts were preparing for their World Cup campaign in Japan, but were outscored five tries to four by the Reds.

Director of Rugby Harvey Biljon continues his plan to give opportunities to all his players ahead of the start of competitive action later this month when Newcastle Falcons will visit the Island for a Championship Cup match on Saturday September 21st.

Home supporters will welcome the sight of a first appearance for fly-half Brendan Cope since his return to the Reds this summer from Yorkshire Carnegie. Cope partners Will Homer at half-back, with captain Apakuki Ma’afu and George Spencer lined up outside in the centre berths, and the same back three as started the Russian game: Leroy Van Dam, Auguy Slowik and Tom Williams.

The Reds’ pack includes a front row of Harry Morley, Jack Macfarlane and Alec Clarey, while another player making his first start of the season is second row Liam Hallam-Eames. Back after injury, the Kiwi partners Rory Bartle in the engine room, while Jake Upfield, Conor Joyce and Max Argyle make up the back row.

Biljon will have plenty of options available from the bench, with six forwards and five backs standing by to make an impact.

The visitors are expected to include former Jersey scrum-half Kieran Hardy, who returned to his native west Wales in 2018 after two years on the Island.

The Scarlets are one of four Welsh sides playing in the Guinness PRO14 alongside teams from Ireland, Scotland, Italy and South Africa.

The Scarlets are based in Llanelli, with the regional side formed officially in 2003 and in 2008 making the move to their 15,000-capacity £23 million home ground Parc y Scarlets.

The Reds and the Scarlets played a pre-season game four years ago, with the visitors from Wales winning 27-40 in a match featuring 11 tries.

The forthcoming World Cup will have a significant bearing on the visitors’ resources: no fewer than 11 Scarlets’ players have been chosen by Warren Gatland in the Wales squad, and there have also been call-ups from Samoa for centre Kieron Fonotia, from Scotland for back row man Blade Thomson and Tonga for lock Sam Lousi. The Reds have two players preparing for the World Cup: Leeroy Atalifo of Fiji and Namibia’s Janco Venter.

The Scarlets’ game kicks off at 3pm on Saturday, with tickets available on the gate priced £19 for adults. Under 18s are free while students will be admitted for £7 subject to production of appropriate ID.

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