Nine weeks after Covid-19 put the kibosh on Jersey Reds trip to Nottingham, the Island side’s players and coaches are set to try again.
The match is the only Friday fixture in the Jersey Championship schedule this season, and the first night-time kick-off for a Reds’ league match since the home win over Yorkshire Carnegie in January 2020.
After a short turn-around following a hard-fought 29-13 win over Richmond last Saturday, four fresh faces come into the Jersey starting XV, which also features two positional switches.
Roy Godfrey and Harry Doolan come in to the front row alongside Steve Longwell, with 20-year-old Jerseyman Doolan making his first competitive start for the Reds. There’s also a change in the back row of the pack, with Max Argyle reclaiming the number 6 shirt from Alex Humfrey.
Ryan Olowofela, who featured briefly off the bench last weekend, is recalled to start on the wing as part of a reshuffled back-line that also sees Scott Van Breda move from full-back to centre in place of Jack Roberts, and Brendan Owen switch from wing to full-back.
Macauley Cook will lead the side once again, while Lewis Wynne – captain for the first 13 league outings – will once again be seeking to make an impact from the bench, which also sees the return of props Huw Owen and Luke Yendle, back-rower Wes White and back-three man Ryan Hutler.
Although the Reds are currently higher in the rankings than their hosts, recent history shows a series of close encounters when the two sides meet at Lady Bay.
The Green-and-Whites were victorious by 24-20 the last time they entertained the Reds at Easter 2019, while the previous encounter was drawn 19-19 on the first Friday of December in 2017. Prior to that meeting, the Reds won 19-24 in January 2017 and 15-22 in March 2016.
Overall the Reds have won 10 of the 16 Championship match-ups between the clubs, with five Nottingham victories and the one draw. The most recent encounter was at Stade Santander International last April, when the Reds celebrated their first home league match for 60 weeks by scoring nine tries and winning 55-12.
This week’s clash at Lady Bay is the first of back-to-back away games for the Reds, who will travel to Hartpury on Saturday February 12th prior to welcoming Ealing Trailfinders to Stade Santander International the following Saturday (February 19th).
All three of the Reds adult sides are in action this weekend, with Jersey Reds Athletic travelling to London to take on Richmond Vikings on Saturday at 1pm, while Jersey Reds Women will host Worthing Ladies at the Stade on Sunday, with a late kick-off at 4.30pm to accommodate the visitors’ flight schedule.
Jersey Reds 1st XV squad v Nottingham Rugby (A) – RFU Championship match 15/20, Lady Bay Sportsground, Friday February 4th 2022, k-o 7.45pm
Brendan Owen; Ryan Olowofela, Scott Van Breda, Jordan Holgate, Will Brown; Tom Pittman, James Mitchell.
Roy Godfrey, Harry Doolan, Steve Longwell, Sean O’Connor, Macauley Cook (capt), Max Argyle, Tim Grey, Alun Lawrence.
Eoghan Clarke, Huw Owen, Luke Yendle, Tom Everard, Wes White, Lewis Wynne; James Elliott, Ryan Hutler.
Why not get yourself a Hot Pot (Curry or Chilli served with rice) in the supporters marquee £8 per pot.