After surviving a major scare in their most recent outing, Jersey Reds will hope to deliver a more consistent display as they complete the first block of this season’s Championship programme.
A poor second-half display at home to Doncaster Knights saw a 19-point half-time lead evaporate to the stage where a last-kick conversion could have levelled the match, only for the ball to miss the target.
A 19-17 victory meant the Reds stretched their winning run to six league matches so far this season, with the visit to Hartpury University this weekend being the final league action before a five-week hiatus filled with the opening fixtures in this season’s Championship Cup.
Director of Rugby Harvey Biljon largely keeps faith with the squad who took on the Knights. The starting pack is unchanged, while there are two changes among the backs: Tomi Lewis returns at wing in place of Will Brown, while rotation at scrum-half means a start for James Elliott.
The bench is also largely unchanged: Elliott’s selection means James Mitchell joins the replacements, while James Scott, who featured several times for Hartpury as a dual-registered player while with Worcester Warriors, is chosen to provide second-row cover ahead of Hamish Bain, with Bain taking the role of travelling reserve.
The two sides have met 12 times since Hartpury reached the second tier in 2017, including four Championship Cup clashes. The Gloucestershire side claimed their lone win over the Reds by 7-10 at Stade Santander International in March 2019, and also claimed a 19-all draw in the first leg of the Championship Cup quarter-final last season before being beaten 30-14 in the second leg the following week.
In league encounters last season, the Reds won 32-17 on home turf - including a hat-trick by hooker TJ Harris - and then claimed a 31-40 win at the Alpas Arena.
The Reds face back-to-back away weekends as they will start their Championship Cup campaign by taking on Nottingham at Lady Bay on Sunday November 6th, and will then return to the Stade, which this week hosted a training camp for the England squad ahead of their November internationals, for another cup encounter with Hartpury.
Jersey Reds squad v Hartpury University (A) – 2022/23 RFU Championship game 7/22, Alpas Arena, Saturday October 29th, k-o 1.30pm
Scott Van Breda; Ben Woollett, Alex McHenry, Jordan Holgate, Tomi Lewis; Russell Bennett, James Elliott.
Sam Grahamslaw, Antonio ‘TJ’ Harris, Steve Longwell, Sean O’Connor, Macauley Cook, James Dun, Lewis Wynne (capt), Alun Lawrence.
Eoghan Clarke, Greg McGrath, Adam Nicol, James Scott, Max Argyle; James Mitchell, Dan Barnes, Ryan Hutler.
18 May 2023
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