A Friday night fixture at Headingley seems more trick than treat for Jersey Reds in the run-up to Hallowe'en. A Reds' squad still ravaged by injury and with four straight league defeats behind them will tackle unbeaten hosts Yorkshire Carnegie, who are just a point from the summit of the Greene King IPA Championship after six rounds.
Jersey have lost the last eight encounters between the clubs, including three times last season: frustration at Headingley in September when an early lead was surrendered in going down 39-22; agony at the same venue with a 33-32 British & Irish Cup defeat in March; and exhaustion at St Peter in April when Carnegie hit their pre-play off stride and cruised home 0-34.
The Reds will be heartened by getting back to winning ways last weekend thanks to a 49-12 home thumping of the Cardiff Blues Premiership Select side in the B&I. Although some 13 members of the squad were unavailable, with second team players supplementing the bench, the home side scored seven tries in a commanding performance.
Assistant Coach Alex Rae was supposed to have hung up his boots at the end of last season to take on the role vacated by Leeds-bound Steve Boden, but was back for last weekend's match and retains his place in the back row for the altogether tougher proposition of Yorkshire Carnegie.
Although he has a slightly larger pool of players available this week, Head Coach Harvey Biljon has made just three changes to his starting XV. One is in the back-line, where Ross Adair comes in at wing to replace the injured Jack Cuthbert.
Both pack changes are at prop, with Marc Thomas and Simon Kerrod coming in, while Jake Woolmore and Jake Armstrong move to the bench, which also includes a third front row option, Sean McCarthy, who will provide cover at hooker.
Following the trip to Yorkshire this weekend, the Reds will be back in league action at St Peter on Saturday November 5th, when Cornish Pirates are the visitors (kick-off 3pm).
Jersey Reds squad v Yorkshire Carnegie (A) - Greene King IPA Championship, Friday October 28th, Headingley Carnegie; k-o 8pm
James Freeman (capt)
Sean McCarthy, Jake Woolmore, Jake Armstrong, Uili Kolo'ofa'i, Max Argyle; Kieran Hardy, George Watkins.
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