Jersey Reds will be seeking to maintain momentum of their 2017/18 British & Irish Cup campaign when they travel to Caerphilly to play the Dragons' Premiership Select.
The second round match will be played at the Caerphilly County Borough Centre for Sporting Excellence in Ystrad Mynach, which is the training base for the Dragons, whose 1st XV have travelled to Moscow for a European Challenge Cup match against Enisei STM this weekend.
The two sides had contrasting starts to their B&I Cup campaigns, with the Reds registering a comfortable 32-3 home win over Yorkshire Carnegie, while the Dragons were defeated 20-27 at London Scottish.
Head Coach Harvey Biljon has made six changes to his starting XV from the Carnegie match, the majority among the pack.
Props Jake Woolmore and Leeroy Atalifo come in to the front row, with loose-head Woolmore taking over captaincy duties from the player he replaces, Roy Godfrey. At second row there's a competitive debut for summer signing Tom Quarrie, who'll pack down alongside Jerry Sexton, while Rory Pitman returns at number 8 in place of Matt Rogerson.
The lone change in the back-line sees the return of Mark Best at centre in place of Ellis Abrahams. Jersey's bench sees two changes, with James Voss and Seb Nagle-Taylor coming in to cover the back five of the scrum; Scott McClurg retains his place after making his debut against Carnegie last weekend. New signing Auguy Slowik will travel as 23rd man having joined the Reds in mid-week.
Beaten finalists in last season's B&I Cup, the Islanders have been drawn against Welsh opponents four times in their five previous Cup campaigns. The January 2013 trip to Sardis Road in Pontypridd was cancelled due to heavy snow, with the Welsh side eventually winning the rearranged fixture 48-17, while in 2014/15 the 'A' XV representing the Scarlets region, playing in the colours of Carmarthen Quins, defeated Jersey 24-9 at Church Bank in Llandovery. In 2015/16 the Reds were cruelly denied by a last-minute try by the Dragons Select XV, losing 30-27 at Pandy Park in Cross Keys, but in January of this year Jersey gained a first win in Wales, defeating Blues Premiership Select 10-55 at Merthyr.
After returning from Wales on Sunday, the Reds will switch back into league mode and prepare to host league leaders Bristol. Currently top of the Championship table following six straight wins to start the season, Bristol will run out at Stade Santander International to face the Reds on Saturday October 28th. The home club are seeking to repeat the success of previous encounters against league leaders Worcester Warriors and London Irish in recent seasons - both games attracted large crowds and resulted in a win for the home side.
Jersey Reds squad v Dragons Premiership Select (A) - British & Irish Cup, Round 2/6, Saturday October 21st, Caerphilly County Borough Centre for Sporting Excellence, Ystrad Mynach; k-o 2.30pm
Jake Woolmore (capt)
Jack Macfarlane, Jordan Brodley, Alec Clarey, James Voss, Seb Nagle-Taylor; Joel Dudley, Scott McClurg
31 Mar 2023
Five games remain to define Championship season