Jersey Reds travel to London this weekend with a determination to return to winning ways in the Championship.
After starting their 2021/22 campaign with back-to-back victories, the Reds have stuttered in their most recent outings, losing by three points at Doncaster and then needing a late fightback to draw 17-all at home to Ampthill last Saturday.
The end result has seen Harvey Biljon’s side drop back into mid table and looking up at this weekend’s hosts Richmond, who currently lie in second place having taken 16 points from their five games to date.
Biljon has shaken up his squad for the visit to the Athletic Ground, where the Reds began the season in mid-September with a 7-47 win over London Scottish, and brings four new faces into his starting XV.
Harry Simmons is selected at full-back ahead of Brendan Owen, while Jack Roberts comes in at centre and will partner Jordan Holgate in the midfield, with Dan Barnes dropping to the bench.
The other changes come in the pack, with Sean O’Connor coming into the second row to partner Zak Farrance. This means a switch to blindside flanker for Macauley Cook, with Max Argyle moving to the bench, while Wesley White is selected at number 8 as Guy Thompson misses out against one of his former clubs.
The Jersey bench also includes 19-year-old Harry Doolan who is in line to make his second competitive appearance for his native Island since turning professional.
The current season is the seventh in the past two decades when the clubs have been in the same league. In 2002/03, Richmond were champions of London 3 South-West (level 7), defeating the Reds 3-32 at St Peter and 30-13 at the RAG as part of a run of 83 successive league wins.
In 2010/11 it was Jersey who gained promotion, from National Two South – honours between the two sides finished even, with Jersey winning 29-9 at St Peter having lost 25-14 at the RAG.
More recently the clubs have met seven times in the Championship, with the Reds winning five of the encounters and also taking the honours in two Championship Cup games.
During the truncated 2020/21 season it was Richmond who took the honours, winning 23-15 at the RAG thanks to tries by Dan Kelly and former Reds scrum-half Luc Jones, with Ted Landray adding 13 points from the kicking tee. Brendan Cope scored 10 points for Jersey, with George Edgson chipping in with a try.
The two clubs are also meeting at 2nd XV level, with Richmond Saxons travelling to the Island for a Raging Bull Shield game against Jersey Reds Athletic – the game will kick off at 2.30pm.
The Reds next Championship encounter will be the visit of Hartpury University to Stade Santander International on Saturday November 6th. The game at Stade Santander International will kick off at 2.15pm.
Jersey Reds 1st XV squad v Richmond (A) – RFU Championship, Match 5/20, The Athletic Ground, Saturday October 30th 2021, k-o 2.15pm
Harry Simmons; Ryan Olowofela, Jack Roberts, Jordan Holgate, Will Brown; Sam Leeming, James Elliott; James Flynn, Eoghan Clarke, Luke Yendle, Zak Farrance, Sean O’Connor, Macauley Cook, Lewis Wynne (capt), Wesley White.
Harry Doolan, Huw Owen, Jack Higgins, Alex Humfrey, Max Argyle, Tim Grey, James Mitchell, Dan Barnes.
Why not come a chillout in the supporters marquee before the game, A fully stocked bar and food is available, seated and standing tables, on a first come first served basis and a great place to meet the Reds supporters.