Jersey Reds will travel south to play a match for the first time in the modern era when they head to Britanny to take on Rugby Club Vannes.
The pre-season match is the first action of the 2017/18 campaign for the Reds, and will see the Island side field a host of new faces in their 25-man squad.
Both professional sides play in the second tier of their respective domestic structure - Jersey Reds in the Greene King IPA Championship in England and RC Vannes in the Pro D2 in France. They will meet at the Yves Chapron sports complex in the coastal resort of Arzon, 30 kilometres south of Vannes, with the host club's home ground, Stade de la Rabine, unavailable due to pitch improvement works.
Jersey Reds Head Coach Harvey Biljon said: "This is the first time we've had a game against French opposition in the professional era - it's an exciting prospect and will provide a really good test for our squad as we build up to the new season."
With a total of 20 new signings in his full 34-man cast-list - nine of whom are held back this weekend - Biljon will give debuts to 11 members of the Reds' starting XV. The exceptions are the front row duo Nick Selway and Jake Armstrong, Tongan international Uili Kolo'ofa'i at lock, and centre George Eastwell. There are also two more new signings waiting to make an impact from the 10-man bench.
RC Vannes were formed in 1950. The club reached the third level of the French domestic game - Fédérale 1 - in 2006 and a decade later gained promotion to Pro D2. In 2016/17, the Breton side finished 11th of the 16 clubs in the division, ensuring that they retained their status for the 2017/18 season. Former Reds' hooker Martin Garcia-Veiga was in the Vannes' squad last season but is no longer with the club. The new season will begin with an away trip to Béziers on Friday August 18th. In their previous pre-season match, RC Vannes lost 29-7 to newly-promoted Parisian side Massy Essonne, who featured former Jersey player Sam Katz among their squad.
The match is the first hit-out of 2017/18 for Jersey Reds, who will also take on Coventry at St Peter on Saturday August 12th. A third pre-season match takes place in London on Saturday August 19th, when the Reds take on Premiership side Harlequins, and the opening Championship matches follow a fortnight later when Doncaster Knights are the visitors to St Peter on Saturday September 2nd.
Jersey Reds squad v Rugby Club Vannes (A) - Pre-season match 1 of 3, Saturday August 5th, Complexe Sportif Yves Chapron, Arzon, France; k-o 7pm (local)
Tom Pincus *
Josh Hodson *
Mark Best *
Jason Worrall *
Oli Bryant *
Tim Duchesne *
Roy Godfrey *
Jerry Sexton *
Rory Bartle *
Conor Joyce *
Rory Pitman *
Jack Macfarlane, Jake Woolmore, Jordan Brodley *, James Voss, Matt Rogerson *, Max Argyle; Kieran Hardy, Brendan Cope, 'Apakuki Ma'afu, Ross Adair
* new recruit
17 Nov 2022
Old rivals both seek to stretch start-of-season winning run to 10 games