Jersey Reds’ step up their preparations for the 2018/19 season this weekend when one of the best-known names in global club rugby will visit the Island.
/*check out our online programme for this game – HERE*/
Aviva Premiership side Harlequins will take on the Reds in a pre-season challenge at Stade Santander International, which kicks off at 7pm. It’s the second recent meeting between the clubs, with Quins claiming a 47-21 win on home turf 12 months ago in a game featuring 10 tries.
Following the 27-17 win over French Pro D2 club RC Vannes that kicked off a trio of pre-season matches, Head Coach Harvey Biljon has rung the changes to his squad in line with his intention to offer opportunities for all available members of his 35-man squad, 16 of whom are new signings.
Wing Jack Stapley and replacement props Harry Morley and Sam Rodman are all set for their first appearance since joining the Reds, and among the returning players is Tongan international centre Apakuki Ma’afu, who will captain the side. Starting prop Cameron Holenstein will line up against one of his former clubs.
Founded in 1866 as Hampstead Football Club, Harlequins took on their present name in 1870. Many legends of the game have proudly worn the famous Harlequin shirt over the years, and the current squad boasts numerous internationals, including England caps Joe Marler, Kyle Sinckler, Chris Robshaw, Danny Care and Mike Brown, Australian test players James Horwill and Ben Tapuai, and Scotland wing Tim Visser.
After twice winning the RFU knockout cup in the amateur era – in 1988 and 1991, Quins have also won several trophies since the game turned pro, notably the European Challenge Cup in 2001, 2004 and 2011, and the Aviva Premiership title in 2012.
Last season was a difficult one for the London side, who won just seven of their 22 Premiership games to finish 10th in the table, their lowest finish since relegation in 2005 set up a one-season foray into English rugby’s second tier. Director of Rugby John Kingston left the club at season’s end and was replaced by Paul Gustard, who switched from a coaching role with England under Eddie Jones to become Quins’ Head of Rugby in July. The coaching team was also augmented through the addition of Alex Codling from Greene King IPA Championship side Ealing Trailfinders.
The big game kicks off at 7pm and tickets can be obtained in advance via the Eventbrite site or at the gate – the ground opens at 5pm and limited edition cowbells, provided by Santander International, main sponsor or Jersey Reds, will be available on a first-come-first-served basis while stocks last
Jersey Reds squad v Harlequins (H) – 2018/19 pre-season match, Saturday August 11th, Stade Santander International, k-o 7pm
Apakuki Ma’afu (capt)
Nick Selway, Harry Morley, Sam Rodman, Dave McKern, Jerry Sexton, Conor Joyce; Hilton Mudariki, Koch Marx, George Eastwell, Leroy Van Dam.