After completing their 2021/22 league schedule last weekend, Jersey Reds will be back in action when Scottish side Ayrshire Bulls visit the Island.
The Bulls are the reigning Champions of the part-time professional league north of the border, the FOSROC Super6, and will be using the friendly match as part of their preparation for a new campaign beginning in mid-April.
It is the first time the Reds have taken on Scottish opponents since a trio of matches against Ayr RFC in 2014 and 2015, with the fixture enabling the home side to bridge the gap between the conclusion of the RFU Championship season and Championship Cup matches scheduled for April and May.
After completing their Championship programme with a 38-66 win at Coventry, the Reds make multiple changes to their squad for this weekend’s game.
Fly-half Sam Leeming, who scored a try and seven conversions against Cov, and wing Harry Simmons, who completed a hat-trick, are the only players to retain their place in the starting XV.
Among those coming into the starting XV are scrum-half Will Lane, who will make his first appearance for the Reds since pre-season, and former Bulls’ lock Tom Everard, who joined the Reds in November. Flanker Tim Grey will captain the side.
The Jersey bench includes a welcome return for hooker Jack Macfarlane after being injured in the opening Championship game of the season at London Scottish in September. Prop Monty Weatherby, a triallist from Midlands Premier side Sandbach who has been training with the Island side in recent weeks, is also among the replacements.
There are also opportunities for two members of the Jersey Reds Athletic squad to impress off the bench: teenage fly-half George Daniels, another who has spent time training with the 1st XV this season and centre Scott McClurg, who featured in a brace of British & Irish Cup matches for the Reds in October 2017.
Two other Reds teams are in action this weekend, with the Athletic travelling to Barnes for a Raging Bull Shield contest on Saturday (k-o 12.30pm) and Jersey Reds Women heading to Worthing on Sunday (k-o 2pm).
After a weekend off at the start of April, the Reds 1st XV will start their Championship Cup campaign at Stade Santander International on Saturday April 9th against London Scottish (k-o 5pm). The Exiles’ clash is a two-legged affair, with the winners set to face Hartpury University or Richmond, also over two legs.
Jersey Reds 1st XV squad v Ayrshire Bulls (H) – Friendly, Stade Santander International, Saturday March 26th 2022, k-o 3pm
Scott Van Breda; Harry Simmons, Jack Roberts, Tom Pittman, Ryan Olowofela; Sam Leeming, Will Lane.
Huw Owen, TJ Harris, Luke Yendle, Tom Everard, Alex Humfrey, Tim Grey (capt), Wes White, Guy Thompson.
Jack Macfarlane, Roy Godfrey, Monty Weatherby, Sean O’Connor, Lewis Wynne, James Mitchell, George Daniels, Scott McClurg.
Why not get yourself a Hot Pot (Curry or Chilli served with rice) in the supporters marquee £8 per pot.