After a scintillating second half performance in West London last weekend, where the Islanders scored 38 points, the Reds are back on familiar soil under the ‘Friday Night Lights’ against familiar opposition.
Jersey have already faced the Knights this season, a disappointing defeat in their third Championship cup group match. A tight encounter saw the Reds leading until the hour mark. Tries by Will Homer, Leroy Van Dam, Kyle Hatherell and TJ Harris weren’t quite enough as they went down 26-32, but the two bonus points could yet be crucial in the shake up at the end of the pool stage.
Back to the ‘bread and butter’ of the league, the Knights will be anxious to makeup for two heavy defeats in the league against Jersey hands last season. The Reds were at Castle Park on the first weekend of October in 2018, and racked up seven tries to eventually win 22-47. Five months later, the Knights were at Stade Santander International under the lights on the first Friday of March, and were stunned by a 29-point first half salvo from their hosts, battling back into the game after the break before Jersey saw the game out, it eventually finished 41-21.
Overall in the encounters since Jersey reached the Championship in 2012, the Reds have eight wins in the fixture to Doncaster’s six, with two games drawn.
Director of Rugby Harvey Biljon makes several changes looking to build on last weekends second half performance, where despite trailing 33-0 at half time, they scored six tries at the home of last seasons runners up.
In the front row, Harry Morley and Jack MacFarlane are promoted from the bench. Charlie Beckett joins Kyle Hatherell in the second row with Jake Upfield joining Janco Venter in the back row, the latter making his first appearance of the season after his World Cup exploits for Namibia.
In the backs a positional switch sees Brendan Cope start at 10, with Greg Dyer moving to full back. Auguy Slowik takes Leroy Van Dam’s spot on the wing.
On the bench, TJ Harris returns after missing the defeat to Ealing, and a first appearance of the season looms for Aaron Penberthy.
Jersey Reds Minis and Juniors under 10’s will be providing their first Guard of Honour this season, as well as the half time entertainment.
Jersey Reds Athletic are also in action this weekend, looking for back-to-back wins, taking on Cinderford at the Stade Santander on Saturday afternoon. Kick off is at 3pm.
Jersey Reds 1st XV squad v Doncaster Knights – Green King IPA Championship
Friday October 25th, Stade Santander International, k-o 7.45pm